"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Diluted Church: Why America's "Christian" History Matters Not

Many small groups in our church have used Focus on the Family's The Truth Project as the basis for study this past year. The retelling of America's history in Lesson 10 of The Truth Project has inspired many of our church members to political action in order to "reclaim America" for Christ. I commend the idea of a "biblical worldview" as advocated by The Truth Project, but there has been something nagging me in the back of my mind about the current penchant of conservative, evangelical Christians, even those within our church, to "take back America" through social, political and cultural activism. I wasn't quite sure what it was that was bothering me until I read a book yesterday entitled The Diluted Church, written by Timothy Price. Tim writes:

Many think that America's founding was "Christian" in the best sense of the meaning. However, if being Christian is having a personal relationship with God, it becomes impossible collectively speaking, for a nation to have that kind of relationship with God. Therefore, America at best could only be influenced by Christian thought, it cannot be an institutional example set up by God such as Israel. This then debunks the concept of America attaining covenant nation status as some teachers have tried to espouse, in trying to buttress the need to go out and re-take what is ours, according to their estimation.
Tim goes on to explain the problems American Christians run into when they try to advocate a particular "Christian" view of American history. Though the following quotations from the book run long, it is well worth your time to read them. They should help entice you to purchase Tim's book and read the rest of the cogent, biblically supported 275 pages that helps us understand our Christian identity is never to be wrapped up in the rise or fall of any nation, including the United States.

The Secular View of America's History

Conservatives judge the public school's rendition of American history to be revisionistic. This word describes the purposed removal of certain bits of information that do not support a presupposed theory or philosophy employed to analyze any certain era. In plain words, Christians accuse secularists in the education system of systematically eliminating all references to God or Christianity which naturally occurred in American History. Since many of the educational elite do not believe in God, they don't want others to see His hand in any historical affair and be tempted to believe in Him. In an effort to carry out their agenda, they simply delete historical accounts referencing God or Christianity's influence in the events of this country. Christian conservatives are reasonably accurate in their concerns and analysis of what is happening in the public education system.

Now, can we learn from this rendition (the secularists') of history? Not really; this view is inaccurate. It has been purposely twisted and is therefore unreliable.

The Providential View of America's History

Now that we have perspective on the secular view of American History, let's look at conservative Christians themselves to see how they fare at an accurate telling of America's founding. A small group within the conservative Christian populace reacted to the public school system squelching God out of the picture in the historical accounts of this country's founding. In turn, they have gathered a telling of their own about this period to reassert "the truth." Their rendition of America's origin is termed providential; meaning that events of the founding were controlled and/or orchestrated for God's divine purpose.

In the 1970's there was one book published which sparked unprecedented interest in this perspective, entilted "The Light and the Glory." This book is a fanciful reinterpretation of many real historical events. It is devoid of many facts that would otherwise deflate the theoretic position that America was ever a Christian-Nation. "The Light and the Glory" is not an accurate telling of history, just a very partial one. We cannot divorce all the realities while recounting an era of history and still call it correct. What is godly about rebellion, slavery, the (mis)treatment of Indians, Freemasonry, Unitarianism, Deism and Enlightenment thinking, which are all intrinsically part of the fabric of this country's founding? Where in the Bible do you find the ideas of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?" Why was this country in such need of the Second Great Awakening if this country was a Christian-Nation, as the authors suggest?
The authors blatantly gloss over many other facts to arrive at their conclusion that America was a special nation of destiny in God's economy, a "convenant nation" as some term it.

Can we really learn from this view of history? Not really.

Politically conservative believers that allow themselves to subscribe to this particular retelling of history are nothing more than pots calling the kettle black. Without realizing it, they have become just as revisionistic as their archnemesis, "the liberal education system."

The Conspiratorial View of America's History

To add confusion to the mix, there is yet a third perspective with a different approach to history than the first two. The "conspiratorial" view contends that history is being engineered or purposely designed by certain entities or power groups rather than being accidental or providential as the other two pwerspectives espouse. Conspiratorialists believe that there are "dark forces" at work behind the scenes at all levels of government to subject the world and its population to a one-world government. They have support to look at history in this fashion and they have published reams of facts and documentation over the years.

So, can we really learn from this view of history?

Not really. This view is known to be questionable in its assumptions and is therefore unreliable. The conspiracy theories create a paranoia and build an unnatural suspicion in its readership. Conspiratorialism questions the scriptural teaching that Christ has overcome the world. Believers should not be afraid and always suspicious. Most conspiracies are not as pervasive as many conspiratorialists would like to make it appear. Certainly, there is conspiracy within the human realm. Yet it is no stretch biblically speaking to say that conspiracy is also a device of the enemy of our souls. It is just as plausible to believe that the enemy and his minions orchestrate much of what the conspiratorialists interpret to be a strictly humanly devised affair on the physical level.

Conclusion

The subject of the importance of American history and the lack of validity of an emass political push to "reclaim America" over the past 40 years could be quickly resolved if we went back to scripture as our source of objectivity and truth. The significance, or more correctly the insignificance of recent historical events to the follower of Christ, such as the founding of America, could also be addressed. We could see that our identity as Christians is not established in the ethnicity or nationality we acquired through entering this world. As followers of Christ we would not be divided against the rest of the Body of Christ around the world by allowing ourselves to maintain an identity with America after conversion, through any telling of history. Finally, we could also see that we would have a better worldview if we didn't cloud it by giving ourselves signficance through accepting American History as being anything other than the rise and expected fall of another human empire, even as extraordinary as it has been.

As a lover of history, and a conservative, evangelical Christian who believes in the supremacy of God's word, I don't think I have ever read a more appropriate sentence on the subject of a believer's identity in Christ--particularly the believer who happens to live in the United States of America--than the one highlighted in bold print above.

That little nag in the back of my mind caused by Lesson 10 of The Truth Project has been satisfactorily scratched. Thanks Tim.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

183 comments:

Darby Livingston said...

A most excellent post.

Stephen Pruett said...

This is excellent. I have had the same reservations and have been very concerned when evangelical Christians are just as lacking in objectivity and adherence to truth as the secularists.

My other concern is that organized involvement of Christians in politics sends all the wrong messages. It suggests we want worldly power to control our society, rather than offering hope and redemption through Christ. It suggests that we do not really believe that God is in control but that we must help him through politics. It alienates those with different political views and makes it virtually impossible for them to be reached for Christ by any evangelical.

If we really believe God is in control and Christ is the answer, we should spend our time doing the only thing that can really change our society and culture, which is spreading the gospel. Laws are useless in changing our culture. Internal change in individuals mediated by Christ will change it. However, that is the hard way. I have the feeling that those who champion Christian involvement in politics in an organized manner, were not satisfied that regeneration one person at a time was working fast enough and elected to change things the easy way by political clout.

Jack Maddox said...

This is a good post Wade! I for one have often struggled with our Nations birth out of rebellion which I believe scripture is clear about. I have often asked myself what role would I play if alive at the time. I very well may have been a "Tory" simply out of my concern for scriptural fidelity in light of the political climate of the day. On the other hand I am very grateful for my Nation and it is clear that God has used us in many ways, in spite of our disobedience. The issue for me is clear in that no NATION is Christian unto itself. However, we must be careful to allow our Christian lives to influence the culture so that God be glorified through a Nation. A good post Wade which causes us to think.

Bill said...

Wade

Let me guess!!

Your next entry will be on "How we Christians in America have more in common with Believers in Iran than with the Lost in the U.S.?" LOL

(Which is true by the way!!)


Wade, You will never get that Big Time Church writing these types of articles!!


Grace

Bill

Romans 6:23

One Salient Oversight said...

A couple of important things.

1. Neither the US Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence contain any reference to Christ.

2. Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli (ratified by congress in 1797 and approved by President John Adams) states that the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.

Kay said...

Price expresses so well many concerns I've had for some time. We must be Christians above any other identification. The only true and lasting change in this country or the world comes one heart at a time.
Thanks for the heads-up on this book.

Joe Blackmon said...

Many people who state that America was not founded as a Christian nation use that as a rallying cry that Christians are to shut their pie holes and never try to change or influence laws through legal means. Those people usually talk about how tired they are of the mean spirited culture war and how we can't expect lost people to act like saved people. The belly ache and whine about how bigoted Christians are against homosexuals and how cruel we are to not mandate a comfortable standard of living for all people so they will not need to get abortions.

In contrast, Christians recognize that if God's word says that something is wrong, man does not have the right to pass a law saying that it is legal. Therefore, Christians work, through legal means, to change those laws that are immoral because they conflict with God's law. If that makes us seem bigoted or hateful in the eyes of those who prefer that homosexual marriage and abortion be legal then that's just a cross we'll have to bear.

It's really funny that those who belly ache the loudest about separation of church and state (which is a misnomer anyway--it's called "The Establishment Clause", look into it) are left wingers who support liberal politics because they claim "That's what Jesus would do". Their demands that Christians keep our morals out of politics would sound much more sincere if they did the same thing.

Stephen said...

Excellent post, Wade. I suggest that everyone read The Search for Christian America by Noll, Hatch, and Marsden.

Bob Cleveland said...

Let's say we started a church, and one of its fundamental beliefs was "freedom of religion". A separation between the church organization, and the beliefs of the individual member. How "Christian" would that be?

Except for the acknowledgment that God exists, which even the American Institute of Holistic Theology does, were not even close to being a Christian nation, and that, by design.

Excellent post, and most appropriate.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Since we base all this (whatever you view is) on writings and quotes and documents past, a good book for any wanna be historian/theologue is:

"America's God and Country" by William J. Federer

In fact, I think the book ought to be in every pastor's library.

I happen to think personally that we were at the very least MORE of a Christian nation at infancy. And that God did indeed intervene to help the Founders draft documents of peace and independence. But if you disagree with me on that maybe you will at least agree with this: the present ideologies of those in power were NOT founded on the same principles as those of the Founders. Nor are they the principles of what a true democracy could be.

Finally, when the UMC, PCUSA, UCC, and others are rallying to cry out that abortion, the act of fetal genocide, is a "God-given right," then I can see how many today would skew the line between what is and what is not a Christian nation.


Peace and Love to you all today,


Kevin (Ephesians 4:15-16)

Darby Livingston said...

Joe, I agree with most of what you wrote, but I think there are two unique, yet similar issues here. Yes, there are those Christians whose primary interest is the shaping of culture, whether it be from a left or right leaning political perspective.

But there is also a group of Christians who want to see Christ's church through the lens of 1 Pet. 2:9; Col. 1:13; Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:19; Gal. 1:4; and Psalm 2:1-2. That is, the church is its own nation on earth, with its own citizenship, its own values and standards of conduct. We have no desire to recreate what God tore down in the Old Covenant, namely a physical theocracy on earth claiming to be Christian.

Once again, I'll recommend the book "On the Altar of the Nation" by Harry S. Stout. It shows how the massive bloodshed of the Civil War was the direct result of the popular sentiment in both sides, largely stirred up by the churches. Both sides insisted that God was on their side, every victory was a vindication from God, every loss was a chastisement from God, so they just kept racking up the casualties. The American Civil War is the perfect example of what happens when a nation of "Christians" try to establish God's reign on earth with a sword other than the Spirit's.

Jim Shaver said...

Does this mean Jesus isn't a Republican?

Joe Blackmon said...

Darby

But I'm not suggesting that God's reign will be established on earth by, for instance, making abortion illegal. I'm talking about people who claim to be christians who say that we should not work to try to make abortion illegal and that doing so means we don't care about the poor--whatever that's supposed to mean. I'm talking about people who claim to be christians and take a stand which is the exact opposite of what the Bible says. If the Bible says abortion is wrong Christians should also say abortion is wrong. For a Christian to be offered the choice between two candidates where one candidate says "I am pro-abortion" and the other says "I am anti-abortion" then the Christian has the responsibility to vote for the anti-abortion candidate even if that candidate is for lower taxes for businesses (how horrible!!) and for maintaining the war against America's enemies in the Middle East (egad!! The very idea!!).

I appreciate the book suggestion. I am going to look into getting that book to read.

RM said...

I logically conclude that Jesus is either a Republican or an Independent because He most certainly could not be a Democrat.

gengwall said...

I posted an entry some time back titled "Jesus vs. the Constitution" where I attack this subject from the POV of the nations founding "purpose". It is actually antithetical to Jesus' teaching for us to hoist up any earthly kingdom as being "Christian".

Wade - have your read Greg Boyd's book "The Myth of a Christian Nation".

Steve said...

Joe B. has succinctly shown us the situation Christians find themselves in during the current "age of enlightenment" in liberal media-dominated America.

Not wanting to disagree with Wade's big closing sentence, I can agree that when we go to the lost world with Jesus we don't need to present an Americanized version of Him.

At the same time, the observer of human history is safe in admitting the singularity of the American experience. We took a country full of everybody else's unwanted people, and created an amazingly successful place to live.

Capitalism is doubtless a part of it, but when I think of how badly this government could have turned out but DIDN'T, it is hard not to suspect Almighty Providence didn't intentionally protect our experiment in freedom - and not simply by the convenient absence of close powerful neighbors.

Darby Livingston said...

Joe,

I agree with you.

Steve,

You wrote: "it is hard not to suspect Almighty Providence."

This is the argument that both the North and the South used during the Civil War and it ended atrociously. It is impossible to divine the bends and folds of Providence, for they are hidden. It is only possible for us to obey the revealed things of Scripture (see Deut. 29:29).

I do believe in American exceptionalism in general. The American system is flawed, but less flawed than many other systems. Over two hundred years after this nation's founding, there is still a general concern for others that flows from a Judeo-Christian ethic at least. This ethic is why we can expect contracts to be kept, why we can hope for justice in the courts, and why American buildings have codes that keep them from collapsing in an earthquake. These are good things.

However, I wonder if the American Indians or the 19th century Africans would agree with the notion that Providence protected the American experiment in freedom to kill and enslave them. I think we need to be careful to always align our goal with: "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

This Christian agenda is defensible from Scripture. But trying to defend the American experiment puts us in the middle of trying to explain America's atrocities as well as her virtues, and we rarely come across as Christian as we do American. Christians should rise above the whole thing because we're citizens of Heaven.

Jim Shaver said...

RM - Would you then logically conclude that all SBC democrats were out of the will of God?

RM said...

One of our difficulties is that we have a lot of "citizens of Heaven" not willing to openly acknowledge their citizenship.

RM said...

Jim,

Yes, I would.

Bro. Jim said...

Joe B

Right on the money!

Joe Blackmon said...

Off Topic:

Seems the bad guys in Washington are getting a little upset that the health care reform bill may be harder to pass than they thought (see here). We can STILL beat this thing and deny the lawmakers in Washington the opportunity to foul up the best health care system in the world. Call your senator. If we make sure they know it is political suicide to pass that they won't pass it. If they know we'll vote them out, they won't pass it. Keep the pressure on them.

Oh, I know being against government health care reform makes me a capitalist hate-monger...and I'm ok with that.

Darby Livingston said...

"If we make sure they know it is political suicide to pass that they won't pass it. If they know we'll vote them out, they won't pass it. Keep the pressure on them."

They already know it's political suicide to pass it, and they're doing it anyway. One could be forgiven for suspecting they intend to stay in power by means rather than traditional American politics. Fortunately, my representative is comfortably seated at His Father's right hand, using the U.S. capital as a footstool.

dasullivan said...

A response to this comment from Joe Blackmon: "It's really funny that those who belly ache the loudest about separation of church and state (which is a misnomer anyway--it's called "The Establishment Clause", look into it) are left wingers who support liberal politics because they claim "That's what Jesus would do". Their demands that Christians keep our morals out of politics would sound much more sincere if they did the same thing."

I am not sure how to take your comment as to what you are stating concerning the "seperation of church and state". I don't have a problem with christians being involved in the political process, whether they be fundalmentalist or "left wingers".

I do believe the concept of seperation of church and state (religious freedom)goes beyond whether you are left wing or right wing and is actually one of the most important contributions Baptists have made to this country and the world. This goes back to 1612 and Thomas Helwys who wrote the following to King James:
"...The King is a mortal man, and not God, therefore hath no power over the immortal souls of his subjects, to make laws and ordinances for them, and to set spiritual Lords over them. If the King has authority to make spiritual Lords and laws, then he is an immortal God, and not a mortal man. O King, be not seduced by deceivers to sin so against God, whom thou oughtest to obey, nor against thy poor subjects who ought and will obey thee in all things with body and life and goods, or else let their lives be taken from the earth. God save the King."

Seperation of church and state is a belief I hold very strongly and I believe it has been a core Baptist belief. I also tend to treat it the same way the NRA treats the 2nd amendment (while not a dues paying member, I do support their stand on the 2nd amendment). For those who claim we need to make this nation christian (again) are espousing something that I believe has never been the case. Being a christian (accepting Christ as Lord and Savior) is something a individual chooses to do.
I believe abortion is wrong. But I also believe organized prayer in public schools and posting the 10 commandments in a public school or government building is something I am against also as it lends itself to the state telling me what religion I should have, even if it is one I am associated with.

I guess I have been rambling some, but your statement is one that seems to be more prominentwith Southern Baptists today, which disheartens me. I worry because Baptists have been great defenders of religious liberty and this sense of feeling persecuted that your values are being threatened due to this ideal of seperation of church and state is, I believe, misplaced and dangerous to the concept of religious liberty.

Darby Livingston said...

Actually, the entire concept of "religious liberty" might be unhelpful. It's not a biblical concept, in that no text of Scripture explains it or promotes it as a virtue. In fact, all the kingdoms in Scripture seem to have religious codes meshed within their politics, not just the nation of Israel. The notion of religious liberty is really irrelevant.

The gospel says: Christ died for you regardless of which kingdom you find yourself in. As a result of the gospel, Scripture says: Now follow Christ alone regardless of which religion your earthly government suggests or requires you to follow.

Religious liberty contributes nothing to the advancement of the gospel. In fact, the gospel has historically grown fastest and largest where there wasn't religious liberty.

约翰 said...

Great biblical truth. Living in Hong Kong and studying the history of China and it's church - I can see where American missionaries have created this negative vibe the Chinese government has towards the missionaries secret work. It's important that Christians, especially Americans, accept the Chinese Church as Chinese and don't dominate with foreign ways. Although I am not trying to say we need to be less mission-minded, thus denoting The Great Commission. I just think America needs to realize that God is maturing the Chinese church and bringing up disciples whom are impressing the Chinese government through their benefits towards society through Christ's compelling love in them. Christ says "I will be all things for all people". He sure is doing it! Let us embrace this hope for unity in the body of the church. I'm enjoying following your blog - and it seems many others are as well!

Serving Christ w/ you,
Jon 约翰

gengwall said...

Your point is well taken dasullivan. May I expand it? If we create a Christian state in America, which denominational flavor of Christianity gets to make the rules? Even though we are a Christian Church (Big "C"), our own denominations and even individual churches have a wide variety of opinon and ultimate disagreement on any number of cultural and legal issues. So, who gets to make the rules? The Baptists? The Lutherans? The Catholics? The "Evangelicals"? The (*shudder*) Christian Scientists? Certainly even the Mormons, JW's, and Unitarians will also want a seat at the table as they consider themselves just as Christian as the next pew sitter. And what do we then do with the Jews, Muslims, and other religious minorities, let alone the atheists, when they do not agree with or confrom to our vision of the "law"? Kick them out? Jail them? What does freedom look like in a "Christian" nation?

Christiane said...

I am a little confused about something. I have often read that some Christian denominations see each Church separately, as a Church or community unto itself, as a basic Christian unit.

Then some of the people that believe this also want a nation that is called a 'Christian Nation'.

Are they looking for the unity in the civil sphere that eludes them in the religious arena? Is it that they feel the need a 'visible' and 'powerful' earthly entity to represent their faith?

Trust me, my 'understanding' is so limited here, as I am from a different faith. But it is something I have wondered about.
Please forgive my lack of understanding. Love, L's

gengwall said...

I'm afraid it is worse than you think Christiane (interesting name for a person of another faith). Even in a time when this country was supposedly a "Christian nation", there was great division in the "civil sphere" (specifically, state/colony by state/colony) driven by denominational differences in the "religious arena", as you put it. In fact, Jefferson's infamous "separation of Church and State" line comes in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptists who feared (and indeed experienced) persecution by the ruling Congregationalists.

Joe Blackmon said...

dasullivan

Thank you for proving my point with your comment.

Joe Blackmon said...

gengwall

Cry me a river. Just because you equate making abortion illegal with an attempt to make America "Christian" in the sense that you mean it doesn't make it so. I'd be willing to bet you think theft is immoral and therefore rightly illegal. I am sure you think rape is immoral and rightly illegal. Therefore, you have no problem with SOME morality being legislated you just don't want morality that you disagree with legislated.

Again, Christians recognize that if the Bible says something is wrong (i.e. homosexuality and therefore homosexual marriage) then man does not have the right to pass a law that says something is legal that the Bible says is immoral.

gengwall said...

Joe - what are you talking about?

Joe Blackmon said...

gengwall

I took your statement about making a Christian state to mean that Christians who publicly call for abortion to be made illegal or want to pass laws against homosexuality are wanting to make America a Christian nation by "imposing" our morals on other people.

Darby Livingston said...

"Again, Christians recognize that if the Bible says something is wrong (i.e. homosexuality and therefore homosexual marriage) then man does not have the right to pass a law that says something is legal that the Bible says is immoral."

That is absolutely right Joe. But surely you'd agree that fallen man will do exactly that and pay the just penalty for their actions someday (Rom. 1:32). Christians can't agree with this kind of agenda, but the Christian answer to their sinfulness is the gospel rather than opposing legislation. However, if America is going to let Christians have a say, then their say should be consistent with Scripture rather than any political party.

lorenh said...

Darby Livingston said:

"Religious liberty contributes nothing to the advancement of the gospel. In fact, the gospel has historically grown fastest and largest where there wasn't religious liberty."

Darby,

If you believe that one becomes a Christian through a personal leading of the Holy Spirit and a personal response to that wooing, I don't believe that you can support your statement with any facts. Name one country or area where true Christianity has spread faster because of the coercion of the state and absence of religious liberty. I don't believe you can.

gengwall said...

Joe - "I took your statement about making a Christian state to mean that Christians who publicly call for abortion to be made illegal or want to pass laws against homosexuality are wanting to make America a Christian nation by "imposing" our morals on other people."

I did no such thing. This is a straw man.

Darby Livingston said...

"Name one country or area where true Christianity has spread faster because of the coercion of the state and absence of religious liberty. I don't believe you can."

Uhh... I'll name two: the Roman empire and China.

gengwall said...

At any rate - there is not Christian unanimity on issues even as contentious as abortion or homosexual relations, let alone the non-essentials like drinking, dancing, going to movies, etc. or the unequivocal like keeping the sabbath (which day is it) or honoring your mother and father (how do you legislate that). That is my point. Which denomination, church, or individuals get to decide the rules? We can;t even decide amongst ourselves what the rules are, how can we decide for a free society?

dasullivan said...

Darby,

Interesting pespective on religious liberty. While I cannot point to anything scriptural that specifically argues for religious liberty, I do not believe there is anything scriptural that argues against it. I still believe it is accurate to describe it as something that could be identified as a major part of the Baptist heritage. Fisher Humphreys, a Baptist theologian, speaks to it more eloquently than I do. To say it has not contributed to the advancement of the gospel is a pretty definitive and broad statement, one where examples could be used to argue for and against that statement (as in how many missionaries have been sent out from the USSR and Communist China over that last 60 years versus a country/countries that claim religious liberty?) That is my initial reaction to your comment, but I will continue to think about what you said.


Joe, I am a little slow so I am not sure how I proved your point. If you have the time, please clarify. Thanks.

Darby Livingston said...

"If you believe that one becomes a Christian through a personal leading of the Holy Spirit and a personal response to that wooing, I don't believe that you can support your statement with any facts."

This statement is a non sequitur. It doesn't logically follow from my statement concerning religious liberty. In fact it's the opposite. It is BECAUSE the Holy Spirit is the instrumental Agent in making someone a Christian that religious liberty is irrelevant.

Joe Blackmon said...

At any rate - there is not Christian unanimity on issues even as contentious as abortion or homosexual relations,

Yes there is. There are people who name the name of Christ who say that homosexual sex is not sinful and that women have the right to have their babies sliced apart and ripped from their wombs and then there are actual Christians that recognize what the Bible clearly teaches on both subjects.

Darby Livingston said...

Let me clarify. Religious liberty has only become necessary for the spread of the gospel because many western Christians are too hooked on comfort and too cowardly to actually spread the gospel in a country that forbids it. A law forbidding religious liberty doesn't at all stop the spread of the gospel if martyrs are willing to keep speaking.

Joe Blackmon said...

However, if America is going to let Christians have a say, then their say should be consistent with Scripture rather than any political party.

Without question I concur with this statement. I've known Democrats who were anti-abortion and Republicans who were pro-abortion. Someone's part affiliation should not figure into our decision on how we shall vote. Their stance on the issues should do that.

Well said, sir.

Darby Livingston said...

"To say it has not contributed to the advancement of the gospel is a pretty definitive and broad statement, one where examples could be used to argue for and against that statement (as in how many missionaries have been sent out from the USSR and Communist China over that last 60 years versus a country/countries that claim religious liberty?)"

That is a good point, but let's not forget that the most rapid expansion of the gospel stemmed from a country without the liberty to be Christian and continued through an empire who wasn't very friendly to them either. My point is that the American ideal of religious liberty is more American than Christian.

John Fariss said...

I am one who has long held that the United States is not and could not be a "Christian nation" in the sense that phrase is usually meant. It seems to me that most of the srgument over it confuses two issues which are really very different: first, that of the intent of the founders and the possibility of any nation being "Christian" and second that of influence. As the article points out and as othrs have very artuiculately stated, individuals can be Christians, but a nation cannot, not really. One can pass a law stating it is Christian--most of Europe was that way and some even still is, by law--despite that fact that more churches are museums than places of worship. Heck, the Roman Empire even proclaimed itself a Christian nation, and when the barbarians overran them, they had to rethink that (led by the worthy Augustine). But laws can only punish outward actions, not change hearts. For these reasons as well as constitutional ones I agree: neither the United States nor any other nation can really be a Christian nation. And the United States was deliberately founded as a secular entity, by leaders a few of whom were evangelical Christians, some were liturgical Christians (about whom today, if contemporary with us, some evangelicals would doubt the salvation of), some were Deists (who, having used much of the vocabulary of evangelical Christianity, are often mistaken for Christians), and some had no more religion of any kind than a common alley cat.

But what some people, I think, mistake for "Christendom" is actually influence. There are actually pretty good records starting abgout the year 1790: both the US Census and church and denominational records. And at that time, about 10% of the US population belonged to any church of any denomionation. And yet the church and Christians had influence far beyond that 10% would suggest, beyond the influence the Chruch has today. Perhaps that was because our forefathers recognized that influence and power are not only different, they are contradictory to one another. Today, or at least in 5 or 10 years ago, the conservative and evangelica1 church become a power base for the Republican Party, and they gained enormous power; but in the process "we" lst influence in society in general. There are other factors no doubt too--but my point is that "we" thought power was the way to make changes, when it turns out, it is not; and in pursuit of this power, we lost the influence that the Church has had for some 200 years. Can we ever regain that? I don't know.

John

gengwall said...

Joe - "There are people who name the name of Christ who say that homosexual sex is not sinful and that women have the right to have their babies sliced apart and ripped from their wombs and then there are actual Christians that recognize what the Bible clearly teaches on both subjects."

Exactly my point. Although you may claim that these are "Christian" in name only, they would claim they are indeed Christian in faith and practice. So what if these are the the Christians who make the rules? Are you comfortable with that? I suspect not, nor would they be comfortable with you making the rules.

In the end, neither you nor I can judge a person's heart to determine if they really are a Christian, regardless of our points of view. And we are talking about rather extream issues. What about the mundane? Is drinking a sin in your book? Do you claim any other person who proclaims Christ who has the opposite view is not really a bible believing Christian? Do you even think drinking is clearly addressed in scripture? How about dancing? How about smoking? How about the use of caffiene or prescription drugs? How about welfare? How about entertainment? I could go on and on. There are a hundred different cultural issues that the law addresses that Christians - good old fashioned bible believing Christ professing Christians - have a plurality of views on. Who gets to make the rules? Who decides what the bible "really" says on these matters? And what do you do with the people who do not recognize the bible as the source of truth for law making? Do you kick them out? Do you arrest them? Do you do the same with the Christians who don;t agree?

dasullivan said...

Darby said "A law forbidding religious liberty doesn't at all stop the spread of the gospel if martyrs are willing to keep speaking."

Agreed. My concern with religious liberty has to do with not losing something that was sacrificed for by people who struggled for it and did not have it in their lives. The Gospel will spread whether there is religious liberty or not.

Joe Blackmon said...

gengwall

Just because some things are not clearly addressed (i.e. drinking, smoking, gambling) that does NOT mean that everyone who has a different opinion about other things (i.e. abortion) and claims to be a Christian has a valid, biblical arguement for their opinion. If someone names the name of Christ and claims that homosexual sex is not sinful all the time their view is completely contradicted by both the Old and New Testaments no matter how much hermenutical gymnastics they perform to try to make it biblical. Christians recognize that the Bible says it's wrong and that it is wrong all the time and there is never a time that it is right. Period. Christians have no dispute with that theological issue no matter what some who name the name of Christ want to babble on about.

dasullivan said...

"My point is that the American ideal of religious liberty is more American than Christian."

I agree with that. But I take it further - the American ideal of religious liberty was strongly influenced by what has been a core Baptist tradition for religious freedom. I fear losing it - not from those who are secularists, but from Christians who feel threatened by someone like the ACLU.

gengwall said...

...and then we get to the universal condemnations. Ones that every Christian (and Jew) believes in - the Ten Commandments. Would you legislate "thou shalt have no other Gods before me"? Are you ready to arrest everyone in this country with a faith outside of the bible believing monotheists? Why, I bet you would even arrest the Jews and Muslims under some argument that their monotheistic God is not the same as the Christian God.

How about "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"? How do you legislate that in a multimedia age. Are you going to ban all commercials? Are you going to ban trade marks? Are you going to ban capitalism in total? You will have to to fulfill this commandment.

How about "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain"? OMG. Virtually every person under the age of 20 and a good number over are instantly criminals.

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy". Now which day is that? Is it Saturday or Sunday in your book? Does it start at Midnight or sundown? Better decide so we can figure out which sects and denominations are breaking the law.

This is my favorite: "Honour thy father and thy mother". Now, we not only get to make a law which is entirely unenforceable but we get to define "honor" in the process. Who gets to sit on the "honor" judgement panel to decide which individual parent/child interactions are dishonoring?

Of course, then we get to the easy ones. Killing, stealing, adultary. Those are pretty easy to identify. but of course, we have laws which deal with those things (well, divorce law deals with adultary).

But I'm not sure how to apply "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour". Certainly, this is enforced in a court of law. But if I lie to my neighbor while talking over the fence, I'm not so sure I deserve jail time.

And finally, "Thou shalt not covet"! And conservatives complain about the "thoguht police" in terms of hate crimes. Imagine how big the thought police are going to have to be to determine who is coveting on a day to day basis.

It is absurd to even imagine legislating the big Ten in a pluralistic society, or even in a homogenous Christian society.

gengwall said...

Joe - you continue to cherry pick the most inflamatory issue and ignore the rest. How are you going to implement a Christian legal code when Christians can't agree on what is "legal" within a hundred or thousand different cultural and even religious areas.

dasullivan said...

John Fariss - your comment hits home with me.

Joe Blackmon said...

gengwall

I'm sorry, I missed the part where I suggested implementing some sort of Christian legal code. I said since the Bible clearly says somethings are wrong (i.e. homosexuality, abortion), if the government creates a law that says those things are legal then the government has acted outside of its authority. Therefore, Christians will work, using legal means, to seek to have those laws overturned. That is not creating some sort of Christian legal code. That is voting consistent with what the Bible clearly reveals to anyone with the reading comprehension of your average garden slug.

There are other things about which people of good conscience can disagree (i.e. smoking, drinking). Since the Bible doesn't speak as specifically in some areas as it does in others, we have to do the best we can.

However, just because some people claim to be Christians and say "Oh, now we don't know that abortion is wrong" does not negate the fact that Christians recognize that it is wrong.

gengwall said...

OK Joe, I'm tracking with you on "clear" prohibitions. Unfortunately, there are some Christians that insist that the bible does say certain things like drinking and dancing (universally) are wrong. You and I may agree that those are debatable areas, but for the prohibitionists, those areas are as crystal clear as abortion. It is those issues that my original comment was related to. Who gets to make those rules?

Joe Blackmon said...

It alienates those with different political views and makes it virtually impossible for them to be reached for Christ by any evangelical.

"Cry me a river"
Justified
Justin Timberlake
(c) 2002

It is not our job to make the message of the cross more attractive. We are not here to win a popularity contest.

Joe Blackmon said...

It is those issues that my original comment was related to. Who gets to make those rules?

The same people who get to make the rules regarding anything else--the American voters through their elected representatives.

gengwall said...

Incidentally - the Amrican legal system was never set up to handle a theocratic legal code. Our legal system is a balancing of rights between all people regardless of religious affiliation. As such, laws such as "thou shalt not murder" are applicable because they are actually irreligious and affect individual rights. But a law such as "have no other gods before you" in inaapplicable because it would violate the religious convictions of a person. Our legal system was never, ever, "Christian" - it couldn't be and simultaneously support individual religious liberty.

Now, the legal systems of the various colonies were "Christian", although each colony defined valid Christianity to be that Christianity practiced by the majority denomination. Hence the Danbury letter to Jefferson. What these legal systems were NOT was fair and free. Religious persecution was rampant, including intra-Christian persecution. If that is the type of system a "Christian Nation" would promote, I want none of it.

gengwall said...

Joe - "The same people who get to make the rules regarding anything else--the American voters through their elected representatives."

But then the rules are not established by the bible, they are established by the whim of the people. Don't you see the contradiction? "The people" will never, ever, institute the code of conduct that you desire. Yet you know approve of them instituting whatever code they desire, whether it follows the bible or not.

Joe Blackmon said...

gengwall

Playing verbal ping pong has gotten old.

Fact--Christians recognize that abortion and homosexuality are immoral and will vote consistent with that belief.

Fact--Those on the theological and political left want Christians to shut the stinkin' pie holes, keep their views to themselves, and never EVER publically oppose things that the Bible opposes. They say to do so is "hate speech" and reflects bigotry.

I'm more than completely comfortable with the side I'm on--since I know for a fact I'm right about it. If that makes me a hate monger in some peoples eyes that is a cross that I am MORE than willing to bear.

gengwall said...

Again - that is why we have the legal system that we do and, subsequently, the extensive freedom that we do. The law is based on a balancing of fundimental individual rights. That system removes both the whim of the people (especially the tyrant majority), and the wide variation between religious legal codes, from the equation. You can't stick the Genie back in the bottle. Once religion was removed from the equation (something our founders purposely did) it is out for good. Conversely, if you completely change this secular legal approach to a theocratic one, which Christian revisionists would like to do, you permanently remove individual liberty because now it isn't a matter of balance between my rights and yours, it is a matter of what the religious majority "say" is right.

gengwall said...

Joe - "Those on the theological and political left want Christians to shut the stinkin' pie holes, keep their views to themselves, and never EVER publically oppose things that the Bible opposes. They say to do so is "hate speech" and reflects bigotry."
I'm sure that is how you feel you are being treated, but the legal system we have supports them. It isn't that a biblical rule inherently is right or wrong, it is that the bible (and your interpretation of it) is not the source of truth for rules in our legal system. If you believe a biblical law needs to be implemented, you are welcome to argue for that as much as you want. But your argument has to fit in the framework of our legal system; it has to reflect an imbalance of rights. "Those on the theological and political left" would be open to such an argument. But it is irrelevant, at least in America based on the principles it was founded on, that "the bible says so" and even more irrelevant that you say so.

Chris Ryan said...

Gengwall,
"Freedom in a 'Christian' Nation" looks like Geneva where Calvin killed Servetus for not believing the way Calvin wanted him to believe. What is too often forgotten in all this is that to be "Christian" is as much a set of theological beliefs as it is ethical ones. Unless one takes the liberal route of reducing the Bible to a set of ethical propositions. That is why I say that America is not and never has been in any true sense a Christian nation.

Darby,
The concept of religious liberty is messy, and I won't say it is an imperitive for government to be legitimate (I agree with you that Christian faith has grown the most in times and areas of persecution). But I disagree with you that it is a concept foreign to the Bible. It is foreign as a request to government (the Bible makes very little demand on government but does a great deal of critizing it). But as something that Christians must permit to others, as an imperitive to you and I, it is throughout. Granting others the freedom to follow God as their concience dictates and not as any human law dictates is present in Galatians (as pertains to circumcision), I and II Corinthians (as pertains to meat offered to idols), I John (as pertains to those who believe Jesus was not God: though John does argue forcefully that they are wrong for believing such, he never says to force them back into line). The principle of religious liberty is never explicitely laid out, but neither is the Trinity. Yet both can be derived from the text.

Kevin,
You really can't speak of a Christian hegemony until after the 2nd Great Awakening. How do you explain that we were "at the very least MORE of a Christian nation at infancy" when only 10% of the population at the time of the American Revolution were members of a church?

lorenh said...

Darby Livingston said:

"A law forbidding religious liberty doesn't at all stop the spread of the gospel if martyrs are willing to keep speaking."

Darby,

How does a martyr keep speaking after they've been killed? :-)

As for China and the Roman Empire...

Do you really believe that Christianity has spread faster in China since the communist revolution than before? Who do you think planted those seeds? (Can you say, "Lottie Moon?")

I would suggest to you that if China had religious liberty rather than communism, the majority of the country would be Christian today, rather than a small percentage holding out in house churches.

And Constantine "converted" the Romans by edict. The empire was no more Christian after the edict than before. I still don't think you can point to one country where Christianity (true Christianity) flourishes without religious freedom.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Wade,

Good post and conclusion. Our congregation is on #9 tomorrow and we have found the Truth Project to be fundamental stuff that we learned back in the 80's....that's not so much talked or taught about these days.

Speaking the truth in love is still the best way to get any nations attention.

Blessings,
Chris

Bill said...

The government cannot illegalize all immoral things. That simply isn't its function. They are supposed to pass laws that help maintain order and protect the populace.

Lying is immoral. Who here would make it illegal? Taking God's name in vain is immoral. Should there be jail time? Should all sexual sinners be jailed?

Abortion is a crime against human beings. It should be legislated against. But neither this nation, nor any other can or should legislate against everything that Christians think is a sin, even if there was unanimity. That isn't the government's role.

Darby Livingston said...

Chris Ryan,

I don't think my argument is in conflict with your point because you don't seem to be arguing for religious liberty from the perspective of what government should guarantee its citizens as though it's a natural right of man. I agree with Christian liberty, and think it is defined differently than religious liberty.

I'm arguing against the notion that Christianity needs government sanction in order to function. I had a conversation around the time of the second invasion of Iraq in which a Christian man asserted that American forces were paving the way for the spread of the gospel into that country. They didn't have religious liberty but they would soon.

Joe Blackmon said...

But it is irrelevant, at least in America based on the principles it was founded on, that "the bible says so" and even more irrelevant that you say so.

It is equally irrelevant that you say so. I'll type it really slowly for you--Christians vote consistent with the Bible. Those who claim faith in Christ but are willing to vote for people KNOWING that they are pro-abortion and pro-gay rights have demonstrated by their vote where their loyalties really lie. It has nothing to do with a political party. It has everything to do with integrity.

Darby Livingston said...

"How does a martyr keep speaking after they've been killed? :-)"

Have you not read?

"By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks." The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the church.

You wrote: "I would suggest to you that if China had religious liberty rather than communism, the majority of the country would be Christian today, rather than a small percentage holding out in house churches."

That is just your opinion. It simply doesn't bear up to the facts. But still you hold to your argument: "I still don't think you can point to one country where Christianity (true Christianity) flourishes without religious freedom."

You still don't think I can point to one country and I've named two. You just don't like the two I've named.

Chris Ryan said...

Darby,

My point goes beyond "Christian liberty." Sorry if I didn't make that clear. My point is that as a Christian, you and I find our conscience answerable to God and know that the conscience of others (whether Christian, Muslim, or atheist) are answerable to God as well. We can and should do our best to point others in the direction of God, but we should not advocate anything which denies them the ability to follow as their conscience (misguided as it may be) dictates. If that favor is not returned and persecution ensues, well, maybe it's about time.

gengwall said...

Joe - " I'll type it really slowly for you--Christians vote consistent with the Bible."

Maybe true. But Christians can't enact a law, no matter how biblical it is, that violates the constitutional guarentees of individual liberty. So, the bible is irrelevant and so are the votes of Christians who are following it if the subsequent legal principle is unconstitutional. I do say it...because it is fact.

Joe Blackmon said...

Thanks, but only activist, liberal judges believe that abortion is a protected right. There were several Supreme Court Judges that were waiting for one of the bad guys to get elected to the White House so they could retire and he could appoint someone of their political ilk to the bench.

Therefore, if candidates who are anti-abortion are elected to the White house for a long enough stretch of time, the Supreme Court could be loaded up with folks who can actually read and who recognize that abortion is not a constitutional right

As a result, Christians vote for candidates who are anti-abortion and by doing so create the potential of making abortion illegal.

Now, will making about illegal change hearts?? No. Will Christians who voted for someone like that be called hateful?? Probably--and I'm ok with that.

Darby Livingston said...

"We can and should do our best to point others in the direction of God, but we should not advocate anything which denies them the ability to follow as their conscience (misguided as it may be) dictates."

Chris, I really want to follow what you're writing. When you suggest that we shouldn't "advocate anything which denies them the ability to follow as their conscience dictates" are you saying something like: 1) governments should allow religious suicide bombers, 2) Christians should allow religious suicide bombers, or 3) Neither would fit with your point.

gengwall said...

Joe - That is a fairly simplistict reading of Roe v. Wade, but oh well. For the record, I agree that abortion is wrong. I'm not sure outlawing it will accomplish much to actually reduce it, but that is speculative.

I also think that homosexual sex is wrong. But I don;t think it should be outlawed. I believe, as others have said, what goes on between two consenting adults is between them and God. I can encourage them in "love your neighbor" Christian terms to abstain from such behavior, but I dread the slippery slope of trying to monitor everyone's bedrooms. Privacy and individual liberty are important not only for them but for me and you.

Chris Ryan said...

Darby,

(2). Christians have submitted to such harsh realities before. Do we really think we are any different?

Chris Ryan said...

Joe,

Yay!! A CR strategy on the American government! And aren't you one who want to say the CR wasn't politics?

Darby Livingston said...

Chris,

Okay, I think I'm following you. But what about the situation where a Christian also happens to be a government official responsible for rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. Would that not put points 1 and 2 against each other?

Joe Blackmon said...

Chris

Regarding the CR--Anything that made those of your theological ilk bascially irrelevant in the SBC is a good thing. The only, and I do mean only, problem with the CR is that it didn't go NEARLY far enough. Otherwise, voting "churches" like Broadway_that_leads_to_distruction Church wouldn't have been necessary.

Alan Paul said...

Thanks for this Wade.

Lydia said...

Can someone define for me a "Biblical Worldview"? And why would "Christians"need to be taught a "Biblical Worldview"?

Aren't they reading their Bibles if they are saved? Isn't the Holy Spirit indwelling in them if they are saved?

Are we putting the cart before the horse?

Chris Ryan said...

Darby,

This is where my Anabaptist leanings come into play! :)

But that isn't fighting fair, since I realize that most people here have no problem with Christians holding political office. In such a situation, that person must decide whether they are going to act in accordance with the mandate of Christ or the mandate of state. They have been entrusted with both. If they are going to act with their Christian mandate, they should probably step aside and let someone serve whose purpose is to act in the best interest of the state. If they are willing to act as a representative of the state, then they should make it clear that they are doing so as a representative of the state and they shouldn't try to justify their actions in flowerly religious language. If you are acting on behalf of the state, don't play to act as a representative of God.

Chris Ryan said...

Darby,

Let me add this: there may be times where what is in the best interest of state is also in accordance with Christian practice. A Christian serving as a representative of state would, I would think, have no dilemna of conscience in then excercising that mandate. But even then, no religious justification ought be offered. State did what was best for state and it happened to be the same. I don't think God is going to be especially pleased or offended that such happened.

John Fariss said...

Lydia,

Good question!

I find that some people use it to mean morality, whether defined narrowly (no gay marriage, no abortion, etc.) or more widely (including issues of environmental stewardship for instance and justice), others use it to mean conservative evangelical Christianity, and still others mean by it a literal interpretation of Genesis a la sixteenth century philososphy, i.e., young earth, no evolution, etc. You have to know what a particular writer/speaker means by it!

Gengwall,

If you haven't realized it by now, Joe defines as Christian those who agree with him on whatever issues. Those who disagree are, well, something else it seems. It is a circular argument: if you are a Christian, you will come to the same conclusions he has rerached, and if you do not come to the same conclusions, you are not a Christian, don't count, and thus prove his point by the lack of cognizant and Christian argument to the contrary.

John

Joe Blackmon said...

I find that some people use it to mean morality, whether defined biblically (no gay marriage, no abortion, etc.) or more liberal politically (including issues of environmental stewardship for instance and justice),

Sorry, you just had a few typos there I thought I would help you out with.

John Fariss said...

Actually Joe, I know I am a terrible speller, as well as having fat, clumsy fingers, so I appreciate all the help I can get. But really now: are you suggesting that the Bible has nothing to say about the stewardship of earth's resources, or that Christians must be silent about such matters? (In all candor, I am not a modern environmentalist; I am an old-fashioned conservationist, like Teddy Roosevelt.)

John

gengwall said...

LOL - the very same question leaped to my mind.

Joe Blackmon said...

Certainly not. I believe God expects us to use what we have wisely and that includes creation. If you cut down all the trees, polute the air and water so they're not useable, and kill all wildlife just for the sake of killing it that's pretty foolish. I generally have heard "environmental stewardship" used to mean left-wing, environmentalist nutjob policy. I don't think conservationists are nut jobs and I agree that we need to conserve natural resources.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

"Can someone define for me a 'Biblical Worldview'?"

It is simply the "perspective" of the Bible. The "lens" by which the Bible views everything it touches on. Whose glasses will we wear? God's or our own?

When Eve, for example, decided to interpret nature according to her own lens instead of the lens of God's word in the garden, it got her into trouble.

No one views "anything" without some lens. No one comes to bones or politics or Disney World with a "blank slate" mind. The scientist/philosopher/entertainer/politician/etc views what they view through some lens. If the lens is distorted, then...

All of creation is "biased" towards God [see Romans 1]. One either basically acknowledges the truth or suppresses it. Scripture helps us see creation the right way. To reject Scripture is to be like Eve [not trying to pick on females BTW :)].

Obviously Christians need to "grow" in their understanding of Scripture so that their perspective more and more "reflects" the biblical perspective. God's lens is original. Ours is to be derivative of His original lens. God interpreted the "facts" [directly or indirectly] before we did. If we don't interpret the facts according to God's prior interpretation, then we are using our own lens.

Our own autonomous lens is a "made up fantasy land world" by which we view the world. And don't be suprised if the world "applauds" that fantasy.

John Fariss said...

Glad to hear that, Joe. Then don't paint all of us who espouse environmental stewardship with the same broad brush of wack-jobs and nut-cases, which is what your comment of 05:45:00 suggests.

Now to justice issues. Same question: surely you don't think the Bible is silent about Christians working for justice, in the legal system and in social issues, do you? (Read Amos before you reply if necessary.)

John

gengwall said...

John - you can go "liberal" position by position: helping the poor, eliminating guns, education, healthcare. The bible says much that appeals to either end of the political spectrum. The conservative problem with liberals is not that they want to accomplish a "liberal" agenda, it is the means by which (i.e. through force of government) they want to accomplish it. I have no problem with many "liberal" political ideas, and have a few qualms with some conservative ones. That doesn't mean for a second that I don't look to scripture as my source of truth for living life.

dasullivan said...

Joe,

"... or more liberal politically (including issues of environmental stewardship for instance and justice)"

I am curious as to why you are so quick to use words as code, such as "environmental stewardship", to define someone as a liberal or left wing? Sincere question...

John Fariss said...

I think that Benji's explanation of a "Christian world view" is pretty accurate in terms of how its advocates understand it. However, I think there are some presuppositions also at play which he has not articulated. Chief among these are certain principles of Biblical interpretation. Many (I won't say all) who would agree wholeheartedly with Benji seem to share the presupposition that the Bible can be used as a book of propositions (ground truth) which can then be used to construct major and minor premises to further logical developments in areas about which the text is silent and/or about which the Science differs. Hence, if the Bible says creation took place in six days, and the ages of various individuals are given, they can be added up to deduce that the moment of creation was some 6000 years ago, and therefore that neither the earth nor the universe can possibly be billions of years old, and therefore science is wrong. Now I have no idea what Benji's convictions on this matter are, but I do know that this is a common perspective among those claiming to have a "Biblical worldview." As I said earlier, different people mean different things by that, or at least have different focuses.

John

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Chris Ryan said:
Kevin,
You really can't speak of a Christian hegemony until after the 2nd Great Awakening.


Huh? You actually believe that there is sufficient fruit to prove Kingdom growth and advancement? I think a bunch of American and European fledgling seminaries simply award a bunch of honorary D.D.'s. Darrell Treat would have been in heaven back then...or was that me? :)

How do you explain that we were "at the very least MORE of a Christian nation at infancy" when only 10% of the population at the time of the American Revolution were members of a church?

Wonderful question CR, and I will be more than happy to opine if you will be kind enough to site you 10% source and then compare that to today. Else your statistic is meaningless.

I do not define a Christian nation as one who is mostly or predominately Christian. I define it as one who's God is the Lord, and who's direction paves the way for the advancement of the Gospel.

k

John Fariss said...

Kevin,

You said, "I do not define a Christian nation as one who is mostly or predominately Christian. I define it as one who's God is the Lord, and who's direction paves the way for the advancement of the Gospel."

How does a nation have a god? Since "a nation" lacks a single consciousness, and lacks a soul in and of itself, and cannot make a decision as you or I do, it seems to me there are only two possible ways to base this statement: either based on the majority view of its citizens--which you refute--or based on its system of government legally recognizing a specific god (or God). That would seem to harken back to the concept of Christendom and nations which were Christian by law, viz. the Roman Empire, medieval Europe, the United Kingdom of Great Britian, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, even the Prussian Empire under the kaisers, and maybe Russia under the czars. Is this what you mean, or are you referring to something I have missed?

John

Lydia said...

Benji,

I asked that question simply because I have witnessed more preaching and teaching on a 'Biblical worldview" than I have on the basic Gospel over the last 20 years. (I am still wondering why Christians need to be taught a Biblical worldview when the Holy Spirit should be indwelling)

I think the term was coined as part of the culture war we have waged for the last 30 years which does not save people.

Having a Biblical Worldview might make one act more moral but it does not save. The Gospel has the power to save and causes one to be more moral when saved because the sin I once loved, I now hate.

If the Gospel saves and the Holy Spirit has the power to transform hearts, I have to wonder why all the focus on a Biblical Worldview instead of the pure basic Gospel. The Gospel changes our 'lens'.

Does that make any sense?

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

I don't follow you on your first comment to me. The second I will be happy to provide.

In 1783, less than 10% of the American population were professing Christians. (Roberk Baker, A Summary of Christian History, p. 351). I don't recall what Newsweek reported the latest statistics at, but I believe the number was beetween 70-85% of the American Population today would profess to be Christians.

But even if you aren't using numbers and noses to qualify a nation as Christian, how do you then define America as a "Christian Nation" while in its infancy? What evidence do you have to make that claim when the Founders of the US professed more readily the influence of Voltaire, Montisque, and Locke than the Triune God of Christian Scripture?

Kevin M. Crowder said...

John,

Thank you. I had difficulty putting that paragraph into words. Indeed it is difficult to define a "Christian Nation" yet I affirm that such a thing exists, has existed, and will always exist. The later of course not as likely.

And so I redefine, welcoming your hole punch completely.

A Christian nation is a nation with an overwhelming Spirit of Christ which permeates the decisions it makes both on the macro and micro levels.

K

Christiane said...

DEBBIE'S PRAYER:

I hope Debbie Kaufman won't mind, but this prayer of hers, that was written and posted on her site in August, seems so appropriate to Wade's post. (At least to me.)

Here is Debbie's beautiful prayer:

"Lord, for all those Christians who want to fight a cultural war, disarm them. For all those who want to do battle, disengage them. For all those who do not know your greatest commandment which is to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and our neighbor as ourselves, teach us. Change our hearts first.
In Christ’s blessed name…Amen."

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Chris,

I should never have entered this debate. Our arguments will be circular. You listen to and believe the historians wish, and so shall I. I find a great deal of evidence that many of our Founders were more than just Deists, and a great deal of evidence that they at the very least respected the idea of the triune God of the Bible, much more, many of them were devout Christians.

A lot of them though were pathetic viles of sludge, like the occupant of the The Oval today.

Read the book I suggested. Then we can talk. I like informed opponents. :)


Totin' and Tootin' my Guns an 'ligion!

K

Joe Blackmon said...

Lord, for all those Christians who want to cave in to the culture because it is safer than standing for the truth, convict them. For all those who want to shirk their duty to share the truth but rather teach false doctrine in Your name, rebuke them. For all those who do not know your greatest commandment which is to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and our neighbor as ourselves, and that this love will be demonstrated by our commitment to love someone enough to tell them the truth teach us. Change our hearts first.
In Christ’s blessed name…Amen.

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

I don't need to read a book that offers a bunch of quotes almost completely divorced from their immediate, literary, and historical contexts and largely devoid of information about the historical person being quoted. Nor a book that quotes Athiests and antagonists to Christianity as proponents of America as a "Christian nation." That isn't a history book. That is wishful thinking.

Read real history. Then we'll talk. I like informed opponents, too. :)

Try:

R. Baker, A Summary of Christian History

W.S. Hudson, Religion in America

F. Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

W.W. Sweet, The Story of Religion in America

The book Darby recommended, H.S. Stout's Upon the Altar of a Nation, is really good reading, too.

R.M. Utley does a good job of describing the moral deficiencies of all sides in his book, Indian Wars.

Joe Blackmon said...

Now to justice issues. Same question: surely you don't think the Bible is silent about Christians working for justice, in the legal system and in social issues, do you? (Read Amos before you reply if necessary.)

Well, it depends entirely on what you mean by justice and social issues. I mean, I think it was perfectly appropriate for Christians to be involved in the struggle for civil rights in the 60's. I certainly think all people, regardless of race, actual gender (not perceived gender or whatever the hate crime "legislation" calls it), age, national origin, or religion have the right to equal treatment under the law and I certainly think a case can be made for that biblically.

If, however, you mean by justice that the government owes everyone a certain standard of living (I mean able bodied adults who could work--I understand there are some people who cannot care for themselves and we have to do something to help them), or that justice demands that everyone be afforded free health care, or that justice means that America is not allowed to decide who may or may not enter our country, then no I don't see where there is any biblical support for that.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

I can sympathize with what you are saying. However, the gospel and biblical worldview are friends, not enemies. Surely we do not want to say that the Bible does not teach the gospel.

However, where I can sympathize is in what you are saying concerning the idea of applying what has been called "the biblical worldview" to the culture war.

There is a part of me that wants to agree with D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said something along these lines [if I remember correctly]:

The only message the Bible has to the unregenerate man is "repent". In other words, it does not have a message that teaches the unregerate man to practice christian ethics. He can't. [Lloyd-Jones is very strong on this in the book "Life in Christ"]

On the other hand, I am against abortion. So, do I believe the church has a "prophetic voice" towards culture or not?

I honestly don't know how to answer that.

Benji Ramsaur said...

John,

"...the Bible can be used as a book of propositions (ground truth) which can then be used to construct major and minor premises to further logical developments in areas about which the text is silent and/or about which the Science differs."

I would say that all Christians know some "basics" that are ultimately derived from Scripture [I get this from the "knowing via the Spirit/anointing" teaching in 1 John].

I would also say that the Bible is silent on many things "directly". However, I would also say that the Bible is not silently on anything in what it says either directly "or" indirectly.

I would also say that there is no such thing as true science differing from Scripture. I don't have a "rigid" view of the age of the earth [though I do at least lean in one direction]. However, I also don't believe that scientists come to what they study with a "blank slate" mind. They are either biased for God or have an axe to grind against God. Romans 1 applies to them as well--either honoring or suppressing the truth. There is no such thing as a "neutral" scientist [or any other flesh and blood person]. Accordingly, this has consequences for how "bones" [for example] are interpreted by scientists.

I also believe that unless one is going to show that typology in Scripture does not always involve actual historicity, I don't see how the typology in the early chapters of Genesis would not necessitate the historicity of those chapters.

Adam as a "type" of Christ [the antitype] is not a historic person?

Lydia said...

"I can sympathize with what you are saying. However, the gospel and biblical worldview are friends, not enemies. Surely we do not want to say that the Bible does not teach the gospel."

Of course not. But I do not think of these 2 as friends but one of them is unnecessary. And it is not the Gospel. The real Biblical Worldview comes from power of the saving Gospel.

An example:

Recently, Al Mohler read this on one of his radio segments

http://www.albertmohler.com/2009/11/20/the-blur-of-gender-is-the-new-york-times-trying-to-tell-us-something/

He was speaking of his biblical worldview. His words had nothing to do with the Gospel but with where he thinks culture is going wrong. (Nevermind that 1st century men wore 'dresses') The lens he speaks frm is a cultural morality. Which is meaningless for individuals without the Gospel that saves.

I could give you a zillion such examples. Where is the Gospel? And from men who are paid to spread the Gospel? And pay for air time to teach a Biblical worldview....not the Gospel.

"The only message the Bible has to the unregenerate man is "repent". In other words, it does not have a message that teaches the unregerate man to practice christian ethics. He can't. [Lloyd-Jones is very strong on this in the book "Life in Christ"]"

I am familiar and he is absolutely right.

"On the other hand, I am against abortion. So, do I believe the church has a "prophetic voice" towards culture or not?"

Absolutely. I have spent some time at abortion clinics, the required distance away praying for those poor lost women to be saved. My actions have nothing to with culture or the Biblical worldview. My actions have nothing to do with the culture. Abortion is as old as the Romans taking their female babies to the garbage heap.

There was a time I campaigned for abortion to be illegal. No more. Now, I realize it is the Gospel that will change hearts and save more babies. I have seen this happen through prayer and I have seen 4 abortion clinics close over the last 10 years...not because of laws changing but because of a lack of business.

The question becomes, can we have a Biblical worldview and not even be saved? I say yes. And I believe, sadly, our churches are filled with such.

Christiane said...

So what 'rough beast' would rule over a 'Christian Nation'?

Once, Satan offered Lord Christ 'all the Kingdoms of the World', if only . . . .
And Christ refused these earthly kingdoms.

I wonder at the foolishness of men who would re-write a Bible and re-make a Christ to an image that would suit their agendas. Christ will not be re-made in their image. And He is above their mockery. And it is mockery.
But, if men insist on an earthly kingdom and and an appointed leader, perhaps they will still find themselves a leader?

'. . . and what rough beast, it's hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born ' . . ? asked Yeats in his day, when the world was 'falling apart' , and men sought earthly power so as to save themselves.

Be careful what you wish for.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

I feel like we might be getting into a "which came first? The chicken or the egg?" type discussion.

I would say that a biblical worldview is a Christological worldview.

It is a worldview that sees the Old Testament as pointing to Christ and the New Testament as revealing the Christ the Old Testament had been pointing to.

And from that holistic Christological worldview, one views everything through that lens. That Christological lens.

Without a Bible to reveal the gospel, there would be no gospel lens to see through in the first place.

Lydia said...

"I would say that a biblical worldview is a Christological worldview.
"

I would say your definition is different from what I have typically witnessed. I agree with your definition.

Thy Peace said...

For readers who are interested in reading "Diluted Church", but do not have the resources to buy the book ... you can get it for free.

The Diluted Church: Free Online Edition.

Darby Livingston said...

"But, if men insist on an earthly kingdom and and an appointed leader, perhaps they will still find themselves a leader?... Be careful what you wish for."

Be careful indeed, or you might just get a pope or a blessed virgin instead of a Christ.

Benji Ramsaur said...

"Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that according to the New Testament it is rank heresy to recommend Christian behaviour to people who are not Christian. They are incapable of it!" (emphasis mine)

--D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

[Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John; Published by Crossway Books; Pg. 66].

Benji Ramsaur said...

"...the more I read the New Testament, the more I am impressed by the fact that every appeal for conduct and good living and behaviour is always made in terms of our position. The Bible never asks us to do anything without reminding us first of all who we are; you always get doctrine before practical exhortation. Look at any epistle you like and you will always find it; these men, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, first of all tell us, 'This is what you are as the result of the work of Christ--therefore...' It is never the other way around. To put it bluntly, the New Testament is not interested in the conduct of people who are not Christians. It has nothing to tell them except that they are destined for hell and for perdition. That is its only statement. They must repent, and until they repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ it is not interested in their behaviour--that is its one message to them. But the moment they become Christians, it is vitally interested in their conduct; it appeals to them because of what has happened."

--D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

[Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John; Published by Crossway Books; Pg. 284]

Christiane said...

Hi DARBY,

It looks like you need a little Advent encouragement:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXkgqpVVpTg&NR=1

Love, L's

Debbie Kaufman said...

Benjie: Exactly.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Christiane: I do not mind you posting my prayer at all(which is a real prayer I pray), it is a great honor. Thank you.

Rex Ray said...

THE DILUTED CHURCH: WHY AMERICA'S "CHRISTIAN" HISTORY MATTERS NOT.

HUH?

It’s been said, “If we don’t learn from history, we’re bound to repeat it.”

The early church was diluted in Acts 15 by the devil’s confusion which led to baptizing babies for salvation in 251 AD.

People baptized by water and not by the Holy Spirit will spend eternity in hell.

“Ye must be born again!” – (Born of water [natural birth] and born of the Spirit.)

Born twice = one death.
Born once = two deaths. (The last one is everlasting.)

The early church that was diluted had a ‘Top-down rule’. – Pope etc.

Christians fooled by Fundamentalist in demanding doctrine is the boss are on the road to ‘Top-down rule’ because they have ignored HISTORY.

One Salient Oversight said...

I believe Joe Blackmon is adding to the Bible when he says this:

In contrast, Christians recognize that if God's word says that something is wrong, man does not have the right to pass a law saying that it is legal. Therefore, Christians work, through legal means, to change those laws that are immoral because they conflict with God's law.

Given the utterly pagan situation that the Roman government and emperor were in at the time that the New Testament was created, are there any commands given by Jesus, Paul, Peter and the other New Testament writers that mirror Joe Blackmon's statement?

There are none.

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul commands the church to expel an immoral member of the church. he argues very strongly that Christians should not associate with such people... but then he qualifies himself. In verse 10-11 he points out that anyone who calls themselves a believer and who is sexually immoral should be shunned. But what of the unbelievers who are sexually immoral? Paul says that dealing with them is fine.

Paul finishes by saying:

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.

Which pretty much devastates Blackmon's argument, proving it to be unbiblical and merely another fancy, post-modern hermeneutical trick based upon imbibing modern culture.

So let me re-word what Joe Blackmon should have said:

Christians recognize that if God's word says that something is wrong, and that man passes a law saying that it is legal, then this is due to man's unbelief and lostness. Christians work to preach the gospel to their neighbours so that, through the work of the Holy Spirit, people are brought to faith in Christ and obey the word of God. Christians do not seek to change civil laws that are ungodly because to do assumes that unbelievers can obey God's word, which is impossible.

Jon L. Estes said...

Christians recognize that if God's word says that something is wrong, and that man passes a law saying that it is legal, then this is due to man's unbelief and lostness. Christians work to preach the gospel to their neighbours so that, through the work of the Holy Spirit, people are brought to faith in Christ and obey the word of God. Christians do not seek to change civil laws that are ungodly because to do assumes that unbelievers can obey God's word, which is impossible.

Are you saying that:

1 - Christians should not involve themselves in civil matters?

2 - Christians should only proclaim the gospel?

3 - That Christians should ignore the evil choices a lost world makes?

You may not be saying these things and more but it sure can be interpreted that way.

I wonder if Joe appreciates you telling him what he "should have" said?

Maybe you should have...

good grief

Joe Blackmon said...

One Salient Oversight,

Don't tell me, let me guess?? CBF?

Joe Blackmon said...

One Salient Oversight,

Further, you might want to, oh I don't know, study history a little bit. The last time I checked, and admittedly it has been a while, the Roman Empire was not a representative democracy with elections like we have it today. For you to suggest that a Christian can support a candidate that is openly pro-abortion and pro-gay rights when another option is available (an anti-abortion, anti-gay rights candidate) is uttely shameful.

Steve said...

Every nation that exists dealt in a more or less military manner with those others whom they found occupying the territory that that nation desired. Whether it was the pre-Islamic Arabs who converted or died throughout the Middle East, the riders of the Steppes who changed places from being the persecuted or the persecutors, or any of the early tribes inhabiting the river valleys of early Europe, these dislocations happen. While things were done in a very politically incorrect manner regarding the provision of territory for Native Americans and the struggle for equality for black people, the sacrifices made for both groups in the past century or so have opened up opportunity for them to a degree seen in few other places on this planet, and I feel proud of what my country has done for them – and hardly a bit apologetic. Those who keep agitating for the recognition of American “atrocities” will have to plea to a different audience. Perhaps they will buy this at the U.N.

Benji Ramsaur said...

I think I can say this much:

If the church is to have a "prophetic voice" to secular culture, it should not be based on the "prophetic voice" of the prophets to wicked Israel in the Old Testament.

Why? Because you cannot biblically justify "equating" the nation of Israel's Old Testament relationship to Yahweh to America's modern relationship to God.

When the prophets spoke back then, they were speaking to God's "Old Covenant" people. That covenant does not even exist any more.

And America is not God's covenant [in any sense that I can see] people.

I think that is a big part of the problem. I think folks take the "if you obey, you will be blessed/if you disobey, you will be cursed" statements in the Old Testament to Israel and apply them to America.

I think that's shoddy hermeneutics.

Now, when it comes to Lloyd-Jones statements, I think folks need to be clear concerning the implications of his statements.

In other words, I think that if one agrees with Lloyd-Jones, then one is not to be speaking prophetically to the culture [unless it is the gospel] from "either" the right or the left while appealing to what is called Christianity.

Hence, according to Lloyd-Jones view, I think both a Martin Luther King's voice for civil rights and the Religious right's voice towards abortion toward lost culture are wrong.

I am open to the idea that I might be missing something, but that seems to be the consequences of adopting the view of Lloyd-Jones.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Big Eye-Ball,

Unbelievers can indeed obey the law of God's Word. It is grace which they do not possess. It is forgiveness which lack when they DO mess up. That is the only difference between those who have been called out from among the nations. There are many unbelievers out there who, I am sure, live more righteous lives than do I. But I am forgiven. I have a marker board on the wall next to my desk I use as a big scratch pad. On it I have written (two) two word phrases in plain sight. "Daily Dying," and "slow resurrection." Futile attempts on my own for sure. the One who helps me however is the One who makes me different from those who are simply "good people."

This same One who shepherds me through each day has told me that I, as apart of His full Body, am the light of His glory which shines in a dark world. He, through me/us brings peace to His people, and to the world. He also tells me that I, as apart of His body bring flavor to an otherwise bland, or in some cases downright nasty tasting world. He, through me/us makes living possible without gagging up our soul. Jesus did not make a command here in Matthew's 5th chapter--He said humeis este, You are! For the skeptics in the crowd, that is as literal as it gets. "You are the light of the world" and "You are the salt of the earth" is as literal as it gets--word for word. The point? Jesus will be on earth today exactly what He wants to be through you and me.

He then whips into prophecy at the end of verse 14, speaking of Washington D.C. as He he says: "A city on "The Hill" cannot be hidden. :)

Shame on some of you here. Arguing all this CRAP! It is not about America. It is about the glory of God. He DID receive glory at the Constitutional Convention. He did receive glory as the delegation went before George III. He does receive glory today as church bells ring across this great land.

You all seem to want to focus on the sins and negative aspects of our Founding Fathers. Even if they were all lost and will end up in hell, they had the decency to stop, pause, and ask God to bless this new land.

And people, He has! Don't you dare forget it. You all think you are so smart with your American History. Blah! Look around your world. Study the history of Mexico and tell me they were blessed. Study the history of pagan African countries and tell me they were blessed. Study the history is the nation of Israel in their apostasy and tell me they were blessed during those many times of rebellion.

"If my people..."



K

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"That covenant does not even exist any more."


Covenants can NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! be broken. They are CUT, which requires death. To say that the purpose of Christ's death was to cut the old covenants (plural) is to TOTALLY MISUNDERSTAND THE CROSS!


To say that Israel has a separate path to God is dispensational devil dung!

I told my Sunday School class Sunday the same thing I will tell you: we need to retie all the threads between the OT and NT that stupid Baptists have cut over the years.

K

John Fariss said...

Mornin' Benji,

Thanks for the reply, and thanks for phrasing it in such a courteous way. That encourages a civil exchange of ideas, and I appreciate that.

I tried to phrase my earlier comment in such a way that I did not judge or evaluate the content; I was simply making the point that there are often presuppositions at play in the "Biblical worldview" beyond what you had articulated, although what you said was, IMHO, very accurate as far as it went. Your reply would seem to confirm that, as when you said, "I don't see how the typology in the early chapters of Genesis would not necessitate the historicity of those chapters." It is that very concept of "historicity" which is a further presupposition to what many people refer to as "a Biblical worldview." In my opinion (and it is valuable--it and a couple of bucks will get you a cup of coffee at most places), that is a western concept rather than one sharred by the Biblical writers, who were eastern. It has its roots in the Greek philosophical model, but was refined and taken to its present level through the Enlightenment. Hence your statement is a round-about confirmation that the Enlightenment view is a further lens through which you filter your worldview.

While I would not claim that the early chapters of Genesis are ahistorical, I am not sure we can push them to the level of debate which views Genesis as a scientific, geological, or astronomical record of facts. At the same time, I would certainly agree that no one (me included) views the Bible (or anything else) neutrally, without presuppositions. Thanks!

John

John Fariss said...

Mornin' Kevin,

Brother, I wasn't trying to punch your hole--just seeking understanding. And I agree with you that it is a difficult concept to articulate. Do you think that a nation "with an overwhelming Spirit of Christ which permeates the decisions it makes both on the macro and micro levels" has ever existed? And if so, is it possible except on a rather small, homogenious scale?

John

Darby Livingston said...

"That covenant does not even exist any more."

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

"Covenants can NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! be broken. They are CUT, which requires death."

In what capacity is the OC in effect today?

Benji Ramsaur said...

K,

"Unbelievers can indeed obey the law of God's Word."

Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

"For the skeptics in the crowd, that is as literal as it gets. 'You are the light of the world' and 'You are the salt of the earth' is as literal as it gets--word for word."

I don't have it here with me, but I would encourage you to check out Schreiner's interpretation of those passages in "New testament Theology" for your consideration.

"Even if they were all lost and will end up in hell, they had the decency to stop, pause, and ask God to bless this new land."

Proverbs 15:29. God has blessed us, but not because American has been in some "covenant" with God. If you want to say that America is, then could you share where you get that from Scripture.

"Covenants can NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! be broken."

Hebrews 8:8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

"New" covenant, not "new adminstration of the one overarching covenant of grace". The Bible also doesn't change the letter "c" [lower or upper case--take your pick] for covenant into the letter "a" for administration as far as I can tell. :) Part of the newness of the new covenant will be that God's people will continue in the covenant since "covenant breaking" was what happened in the Old Covenant.

"To say that Israel has a separate path to God is dispensational devil dung!

we need to retie all the threads between the OT and NT that stupid Baptists have cut over the years."

I don't even believe in premill. We should not "cut" the two Testaments. They belong together because of Jesus. The Old pointed to Jesus and the New reveals Jesus. But just as when the new earth comes the old earth will pass away so...

Hebrews 8:13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Bible Trumps Westminster Confession of Faith.

If you see a student named "Daniel Murphry" at Covenant, please tell him I said hi and would love to talk with him again. He was a part of the youth group I led in the PCA.

Take Care,

Benji

Benji Ramsaur said...

John,

Thank you for your response.

"I would certainly agree that no one (me included) views the Bible (or anything else) neutrally, without presuppositions."

I'm glad we agree here. However, what I would say is that when someone becomes a Christian, their presuppositions radically change from what they once were. They change from being against "the" God to being one who honors Him.

I am a bit confused when it comes to how you view the early chapters of Genesis. It seems like you reject my "historicity" view and yet you say you don't believe it is [a]historical. It would seem to me that if those chapters are not [a]historical, then they would be, in some sense, scientific.

Since you seem to disagree with my view of typology [or its implications], then what do you believe about typology that differs from my view?

Also, how do you interpret 1 Timothy 2:13 in relation to the historicity issue of Genesis?

Thank you for your civil tone. Maybe in God's providence we might could sit down with good coffee some time :)

Benji

Debbie Kaufman said...

I am not saying that we should not be able to vote for things such as abortion or vote in a anti-abortion candidate. I am saying the Religious Right was wrong. And they had more than a voice. They were warring. They were boycotting, they were threatening.

Our primary directive from Christ is the Gospel. It's not going to matter a hoot how someone behaves, thinks, or even acts if that person is bound for hell. The gospel is our only assignment. Making disciples.

The first century church rescued babies, adopting them, helping the mothers. They were kind, loving, caring. They didn't put together protests or march against the government. They gave the Gospel. They were the Gospel.

There are more angry Christians out there than loving ones. They war because they like to war and this is a good Biblical cause to war for. It's not so much that they care for those who are having abortions, it's because they love a good fight. This is a good fight. It's a great excuse to be angry and hate.

We pour money into causes that in the end mean nothing. Christ came to change men's hearts, not there actions. He came to fulfill the Law that we cannot fulfill. He came to seek the lost. The Jews missed him because they were looking for a man on a white horse with kingly robes to change the government. What they got was the opposite.

The world sees us and critiques us pretty accurately. That is something we need to change. You are asking a person to think, act, etc. like a Christian when they can't. I do agree with Martin Lloyd Jones. He has said what I have been saying.

Debbie Kaufman said...

It's interesting how Martin Luther King gets brought up. At the time Southern Baptists thought of him as enemy number one. We were against and fought hard against MLK.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Debbie,

"It's interesting how Martin Luther King gets brought up. At the time Southern Baptists thought of him as enemy number one. We were against and fought hard against MLK."

What is your point?

God Bless,

Benji

Christiane said...

from the Book of Amos:

". . I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."


As for baptism of water and the Spirit, it is said that the waters of Life will engulf all of those who seek them.

Debbie wrote that the first century Christians 'were the Gospel'.
It would be very eye-opening for some Christian people today to learn more about these early Christians.
We know one thing they had that some Christians today lack: an abundance of humility: humility before the Lord, and humility in their actions with one another.
We know one thing they had that many Christians today profoundly lack: the early Christians were not afraid. They were at peace.
And Debbie is so right: they were people who cared for others with great love.

The mighty Roman Empire wasn't converted by 'men'. It wasn't changed by the actions of 'men'.
There was another Force at work there, more powerful than the Empire had ever encountered. And it did not follow the ways of men.
The Empire was changed by people who were unafraid to actively love and care for one another and to do it with great humility, as they had been taught by the Apostles, who in their time, had been taught by Our Lord.

The early Christians made a difference, BECAUSE THEY WERE DIFFERENT. Very different. And the Roman Empire was thirsty and hungry for that difference.

Pax Christi,
L's

Joe Blackmon said...

What is your point?

God Bless,

Benji


Her point is that the only way to live the authentic Christian life is to shill for left-wing politicians and their policies.

John Fariss said...

Benji,

As I have generally heard the word "historicity" used (and this may or may not resonate with your usage), it requires that each and every detail of the account be accepted as ground truth, such that the Genesis account is accepted as a literal six day creation period, that Adam and Even were not only actual people, but that the geneologies, life spans, etc. are complete, and so on. In other words, the Bible can be used virtually as a textbook of science, astrophysics, geology, mathematics, or anything else; and at any point when either these or the logical conclusions drawn from them are in conflict with the conclusions reached by science, it is a priori, the "science" which is wrong.

At the other extreme, I understand that to hold the Genesis account as "ahistorical" would mean that it is all legend and myth, in the worst possible sense of the words--that it was no more than bedtime stories invented to explain the "unexplainable" to a pre-scientific and pre-literate people.

I lean toward a more "middle ground" approach: for instance that Adam and Eve were real people, especially understood from the Hebrew as "the man" and "the woman" or "woman made from man". I would also say that the point of these accounts was to explain the truth of the chasm between humankind and God rather than to explain geology, biology, etc., and that to use it in such a way does violence to God's intent in inspiring the original storytellers/writer, and it imposes a lens of interpretation which was foreign to both the Biblical writer and the original audiences for thousands of years.

Now: I certainly agree that when Jesus Christ (and yes, I believe in Him literally and in a very traditional, evangelical, and orthodox way) enters into one's heart, it changes the person. Unfortunantly, history shows us that it does not instantly made the person mature in the faith--thus we have Christians who believe it is possible to convert Muslims by the sword (the Crusades), Christians who believe the Bible supports the slavery of those whose skin color is different (many Baptists and others in the pre-Civil War South), and related to that, many Christian Baptists and Baptist churches that opposed the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s because African-Americans were an inferior race, and/or that the Bible taught the races should not mix in any way.

By the way, I think that the phrase "true science (not) differing from Scripture" is a misstatement because the two seek to answer very different questions. Science seeks to answer "How?" while faith/Scripture/even religion is all about "Why?" However we got here--be that through acts of special creation, evolution, alien inplantation, or whatever--is how God intended for us to get here.

Benji, this is imcomplete and probably lends itself to misinterpretation. It is not an area I spend a lot of time analyzing, and it has little to do with my relationship with Christ, which is my focus. So if it comes off as less than thorough-going, or contradictory in places, it probably is. But then we can all accept some incongruity in our outlooks, especially when it is not our main focus.

BTW, I'd love to sit down and share a cup with you. Unfortunantly, mine can't be coffee--it started making my heart do summersaults (even decaf) so the best I can do now is non-caffinated herbal tea.
John

Debbie Kaufman said...

My point is there was a time when we were as Southern Baptists fighting for the wrong side and were wrong...a lot.

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

What quantitative or qualitative way do you have of confirming that God blessed America? Because we won wars? Because we got rich? Because we got influence?

Read Isaiah 1. And then consider them in light of King Uzziah's reign. A king who brought military, economic, and religious revival to Judah. And still, God is absolutely disgusted with that nation. So disgusted that he looks at the nation and sees only desolation and ruin. And God isn't jumping ahead in the timeline. The verb tenses don't allow for that.

Blessings don't always come from God. Sometimes they are tricks to make us think we are more okay with God than we truly are. I don't doubt that America has caught some breaks, some would call them blessings. I just wonder who they came from.

And those founding fathers may have stopped to ask for God's blessings. But the name of God is taken in vain most often immediately before the word, "Amen."

Just some thoughts to chew on today.

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Kevin,

Blessed are the poor in spirit; those that mourn; the meek; those that hunger and thirst for righteousness; the merciful; the pure in heart; the peacemakers; the persecuted, insulted, and falsely accused (for Christ sake)

:>(

Rex Ray said...

Debbie and Christiane,
If you’ve read history of the first century church, I believe you had ‘rose colored’ glasses in order to say: “They were kind, loving, caring” and “They were at peace.”

From the Bible we know: “Some of the believers from the PARTY of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the Law of Moses!” (Acts 15:5 Holman) “…SECT of the Pharisees…” (King James and NLT)

Do you think these Christian Pharisees changed their minds when Peter and James did not agree with them? Paul fought their thinking the rest of his life.

“Watch out for those wicked men—dangerous dogs who say you must be circumcised to be saved.” (Philippians 3:2)

“Many…say that all Christians must obey the Jewish laws…it blinds people to the truth, and it must be stopped.” (Titus 1:10)

“Let God’s curse fall on anyone…who preaches any other way to be saved…” (Galatians 1:8)

This doesn’t sound like peace to me, but it gets worse when James tells Paul his congregation which is “zealous for the law” (Acts 21:20) has been told that Paul:

“…is against the laws of Moses…customs…and forbid the circumcision of their children…” (verse 21)

Since the law of Moses said, “Anyone refusing to obey the law…punished by death” (Ezra 7:26), how much worse would punishment be for Paul to preach against the Law?

James communicates this danger to Paul when he tells him: “So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you’ve come. Therefore do what we tell you:” (Acts 21:22-23)

Paul takes their advice; is arrested, put on trial, and dies in prison.

If they’d testified that Paul was obeying them, he would have been released. But I believe that through the years with no visits from them, Paul realized he had been ‘set up’:

“At my first answer, no man stood for me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16)
This was the same prayer Paul heard Stephen pray – had the same crime been done?

I believe the Christian Pharisees would like to have added a PS to the letter sent to the Gentiles at the first opportunity, but James stood in their way. “As far as the Gentile Christians, we aren’t asking them to follow these Jewish customs at all…” (Acts 21:25 Living)

With Paul out of the way, James was their only obstacle. History tells us after James testified for Jesus; he was thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple, tried by the Sanhedrin, and ordered to be stoned.

“While they were smiting him with stones, a priest, said to them, “Leave off, what do ye? The just man prayeth for you.” And one of those who were present, a FULLER, took an instrument, wherewith they did use to beat and purge cloth, and smote the just man on his head…they buried him in the same place.” (Foxes Book of Martyrs)

To connect the death of James to Christian Pharisees, who was this “FULLER”? I’ve been told he was a member of James’ church.

If that’s not true, would someone straighten me out? Not with opinions but with facts from history.

Anyway, I believe the friction between early Christians makes today’s problems look like a molehill.

Benji Ramsaur said...

John,

Thank you for your response. I think I have some disagreements, but you articulate your thoughts well. Thanks again.

In Christ,

Benji

Christiane said...

Hi REX RAY,

It's me, L's

For 'historical' background on the early Christians, you might want to read the Roman historian Tacitus; the Jewish historian of the first century Josephus, and also some of the letters of Pliny the Younger as he wrote about the Christians to the emperor Trajan.

The above references are non-Christian and are fascinating accounts.

Archeology of Christian catecombs gives inscriptions, icons, and sculptures that give references to the sentiments of early Christians, as well as the depth of their faith in Christ.
So, that resource is available for all Christians to examine.

The final resource is not one that holds meaning for Protestants. It is the accounts of the lives of the martyrs and saints of the early Church that appears in the writings of the early Church Fathers. It is part of the tradition of my Church.

There. That will get you started.

Love and prayers,
L's

Lydia said...

"Blessings don't always come from God. Sometimes they are tricks to make us think we are more okay with God than we truly are. I don't doubt that America has caught some breaks, some would call them blessings. I just wonder who they came from.
"

Chris, I just grabbed this quote but my response is really to all your comments. I do not think we are a Christian nation at all. But I think you go too far. You have the young's disgust for your country which is normal. I am finding this view also quite prevalent in the young reformed set.

But I do believe that we have been used by God. Here is an example that has been repeated a million times over the last 200 years by many who came here.

On both sides of my family I have Ana Baptists who escaped from persecution in England and the other, Huegonauts (sp?) who escaped persecution in France. (Were they wrong to try and escape?)

They came here and subsequently many of their descendents ended up as missionaries back to Africa, China, New Guinea, Indonesia, Mongolia, South America, India and Eastern Europe. This is going back to the early 1800's even before the SBC!

There is a lot of bad in our history but much good too.

Joe Blackmon said...

Lydia,

Can you NOT stop your hate-mongerin'?? I mean, the very idea that God has blessed this country is pure, American arrogance. One day, maybe we'll be as civilized and treat people as well as countries like Iraq but until then remember we have seen the enemy--and it is us.

:o)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Rex: I don't have rose colored glasses on and I don't believe Christianne does either. I am not speaking of the Pharisees and yes the church had problems. They also did many, many things right as the Holy Spirit moved(not the government, not society) and if we look at Christ's teachings, Paul's teachings, we see what designs God has for the Church and the church.

Lydia: God has been merciful to us as a nation. I would not call it blessings. Those who receive God's blessing are his children if you read scripture. Nations of people who turn to him, not nations. We as a nation are under God's grace and mercy, I wouldn't call them blessings.

To get a proper perspective, the Bible is to be read and studied because the way the thinking of Christians is going, it's getting further and further away from Christ doing the life changing and really caring about people going to hell, and more and more into moral acts that don't mean a thing to God no matter how "Biblical" you may believe them to be.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Read Phillipians 3 where Paul says he was a very moral man before he had Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Our calling is not to change politics(again, voting is not something I am against.) We are called to give Christ and the Gospel to the ends of the world.

Remember that it was the moral, self-righteous, very religious Jews who partnered with the Romans and crucified Christ. Morality without Christ as Lord and Savior, without the Holy Spirit doing an eternal life change means nothing.

Darby Livingston said...

Lydia and Joe,

Do you think that it seems we all go to extremes on this?

For instance, if young reformed-type people try to see all nations (America included) as part of this present evil age about to pass away, we are considered anti-American liberal non-patriots. IOW, if we don't put America on a pedestal somewhere between this present evil age (with nations like Iraq) and the age to come (Heaven), then we're anti-American whippersnappers.

On the other hand, if people like Joe want to point out American exceptionalism in any form, they are considered by some to be rampant idolaters worshiping the state instead of Christ.

Darby Livingston said...

"Read Phillipians 3 where Paul says he was a very moral man before he had Christ as his Lord and Savior."

Debbie,

I'm sure you'd agree that the gospel inspires a certain type of morality, and Paul goes on to describe others whose God is their belly who walk as enemies of the cross. I'm not sure the gospel and social action in some respects are mutually exclusive. What say you?

Chris Ryan said...

Lydia,

I don't recall saying America has not been used by God. I questioned the status of "blessed" which Kevin conferred. God has used the good, the bad, and the amoral all throughout human history. God has long been in the business of using evil for good. I don't doubt that He has used America. But that usage in no way justifies any sense of American exceptionalism nor requires any sort of American patriotism.

Christiane said...

Hi DARBY,

It’s me, L’s

Here’s some more Advent Season encouragement for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDacN9z4QyE

It’s in the ancient Irish language, but the yearning for Christ’s coming translates rather well. Enjoy. 

Darby Livingston said...

Thanks L's. I actually did enjoy the other link as well.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Darby: The Gospel never calls or expects people to live morally and be without Christ. Christ himself did not expect this. Why? They can't. And...they would still go to hell. The Gospel points to Christ and if it does not, it is not the Gospel.

Christiane said...

Hi REX RAY,

The verses you gave from the Bible did not include this, from 2 Peter 3:11-14:


" 11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness,

12 waiting for and hastening* the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire ? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by Him at peace"


The early Christians did expect Christ to return to them and were attentive to the teachings of the Apostles. The idea of peacefulness as a gift from Christ was universal among them. Their greetings to one another in that first century were: 'May the Peace of the Lord be with you' and the response was, 'And with your spirit.'

His own promise to them is recorded in the Scriptures: 'My Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you . . . '

Was peacefulness of spirit and soul important to them, then?
Was it responsible for the calmness with which many faced martyrdom? It must have an unearthly peace that took away their fear as they faced death in the arenas. Many who watched them die were converted as they witnessed this.

Even today, many Christians in our world are blessed with this prayer: 'may the Peace of the Lord be always with you' and the response is still, after 2000 years, 'and with your spirit'.

'STRIVE TO BE FOUND BY HIM AT PEACE . . ' the words of St. Peter to the early Christians and to those who follow Him still and wait for the Day of the Lord, with the prayer, 'Dona nobis pacem.'

Love, L's

Darby Livingston said...

Debbie,

I agree with that, but that doesn't make the gospel mutually exclusive with a certain kind of social conscience or Paul wouldn't have to say things like "Bad company corrupts good morals." That is in the New Testament.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Benji,

I did not intend to imply that unbelievers (even one of them) could obey the law perfectly, but that indeed there are unbeleivers who are--for all practical purposes--good, moral, upright citizens. Of course they are still bad, defiled, and offend a holy God--I get that. I have no issue with Romans 8:7 of course, but it really does not apply to the fact that an unbeliever can indeed "stumble" into doing good. There is a common goodness which some have apart from grace--it is because we are all made in the image of God.

I do not own Schreiner's book, wish I did. Was there something specific He says that I should be aware of?

As to Hebrews 8, no OT covenant is "cut" rather a few are rendered moot due to the cross. But there were many covenants in the OT Scriptures. And there IS an overarching "Covenant of Grace, or Covenant of Redemption." :)


K

Darby Livingston said...

"And there IS an overarching "Covenant of Grace, or Covenant of Redemption." :)"

Just ask all the dead Puritans. They'll tell you. :)

Junkster said...

America For Me
by Henry Van Dyke


'TIS fine to see the Old World and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues and kings
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.
So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her sway!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free--
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Lydia said...

"Lydia: God has been merciful to us as a nation. I would not call it blessings. Those who receive God's blessing are his children if you read scripture. Nations of people who turn to him, not nations. We as a nation are under God's grace and mercy, I wouldn't call them blessings."

Debbie, you totally misunderstood my comment. But that is ok. I never ONCE said that God blessed us as a "nation". My meaning was that we were a haven for some fleeing persecution who then were able to send out missionaries

Call it what you want. Some call it common grace.

"To get a proper perspective, the Bible is to be read and studied because the way the thinking of Christians is going, it's getting further and further away from Christ doing the life changing and really caring about people going to hell, and more and more into moral acts that don't mean a thing to God no matter how "Biblical" you may believe them to be."

Like being for socialized medicine? See, it works both ways. And I agree with what you said above. It is the Gospel that transforms. Not a culture war on either the left or right.

Lydia said...

"Do you think that it seems we all go to extremes on this?"

Yes! I was extreme for many years. I no longer look for answers in elections but that does not mean I want my coutry to go down the totalitarian road with government as the nanny, either. Governments are more corrupt because you have no choice in the matter.

"And there IS an overarching "Covenant of Grace, or Covenant of Redemption." :)"

Just ask all the dead Puritans. They'll tell you. :)"

EXACTLY!

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Yes Lydia,more important than being for health care that should be affordable for everyone. The only thing that counts in the end is the giving and receiving of Christ. Then begins the discipling.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"And there IS an overarching "Covenant of Grace, or Covenant of Redemption." :)"

Just ask all the dead Puritans. They'll tell you. :)"


Am I thinking beyond some obvious understanding here? I don't get it. :-/



k

Darby Livingston said...

Kevin,

All I'm saying is that unless one is taught the concept of an overarching covenant of grace using the constructs of a bunch of dead puritans as source material, one will not come to it from a simple reading of the text. The notion of a covenant of grace continues because it is parroted, not exposited.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

"The notion of a covenant of grace continues because it is parroted, not exposited."


Maybe, but the concept/thread/theme can be attained by a "big picture" approach to Scripture. What is God really doing here in these OT stories? Why did they point to a Messiah? What really changed at teh cross? What did NOT change at the cross? We can even look back to the creation account itself--what are the constructs of this account? Who are the players? What are their interactions? What did God give mankind; what did He promise them? How did sin affect God's plan, or was it part of it?

Asking good questions of the text will provide good answers to exactly what it is our God is doing "up there."

Then label and or package these answers/teachings/doctrines into understandable, common, and biblical language.


K

PS: Anything learned from others, and repeated, is parroted. That is not a bad necessaritly a bad thing.

Darby Livingston said...

I agree with everything you wrote Kevin, including your postscript. I am a student of the redemptive-historical method and can't get enough Geerhardus Vos, Hermann Ridderbos and Meredith Kline. I love biblical theology. I just don't think we need to categorize everything under a "covenant of grace" in order to see and love these big pictures. That's all.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"I am a student of the redemptive-historical method and can't get enough Geerhardus Vos, Hermann Ridderbos and Meredith Kline."

Vos I love and would almost parrot blindly. :) Not familiar with the other 2, but will check them out.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Kevin,

I'm not against a big picture approach, but I think exegesis needs to have a "voice" in what the big picture should be. And if the big picture theme that one approaches Scripture with is "flawed/arbitrary", then the result will be the distortion of Scripture.

And that is what the one covenant of grace theme does. It has to make the Old Covenant the Old Administration of the theme--the one covenant of grace.

It has to make the New Covenant the Old Administration of the theme--the one covenant of grace.

I understand the idea that the Bible might not explicitly use a term [like the Trinity], but still contain the concept.

However, when it comes to the Covenant of grace, it ends up taking clear biblical terms [covenants] and making them into something else [administrations].

If one wants a big picture approach, then why not take the two covenants that get the emphasis in Scripture [Old & New] and interpret the Bible accordingly?

This is something that both scholars and regular folks can do whereas when it comes to the covenant of grace, I think it is something that "only" the scholars and regular folks who are taught a "tradition" can supposedly see in the Scripture.

Look at church history with a "broad approach". Where was this supposed covenant of grace talked about in the writings of theologians before around the time of the Reformation?

For a scholarly treatment of covenants I highly recommend Jason Meyer's book "The End of the Law".

Benji Ramsaur said...

Kevin,

From a historical perspective, I would highly recommend reading chapter 6 of Thomas Patient's work "The Doctrine of Baptism and the Distinction of the Covenant" [1654].

http://www.reformedreader.org/dobc06.htm

In chapter 6 this 1st generation Particular Baptist "equated" the covenant of grace with the New Covenant.

In other words, he did not make the new covenant the "new administration" of another covenant [i.e., the covenant of grace].

I agree with his "concept": The gracious New Covenant/The New covenant of Grace.

This writer was a signer of the First London Convession of faith.

That confession states "Jesus Christ is made the mediator of the new and everlasting covenant of grace between God and man, ever to be perfectly and fully the prophet, priest, and king of the Church of God for evermore."

dasullivan said...

Hey Joe, you said, "We can see the substandard kind of care we'll get by (a) looking at Canada. No human being with an ounce of sense can look at Canada'a health care system and claim that it works when THOUSANDS of them come into America for healthcare they can't get at home."

I work for a Canadian company, therefore I work with a number of Canadians and others who live in Canada. I have had this discussion with them since Canada is used as an example of bad health, just to get a personal response as to what their experience is. While there are some minor complaints, there was no great sense that their system was all that screwed up and actually were somewhat offended that their system was used as an example of a bad system. They tended to start pointing out what was screwed up with our system. So based on what I am told by people I know that actually use the system, your statement seems to be off the mark.
But hey, these may be Canadians that don't have an ounce of sense and realize how bad they have it. I'll let them know the "truth" as you see it so they will be enlightened and join the "thousands" of Canadians that are coming to this country for their health care.

Joe Blackmon said...

dasullivan

First of all, I deleted that comment, but it had nothing to do with that part of the comment so I don't mind you reposting it.

Perhaps your Canadian buddies might want to have a discussion with Dr. Anne Doig, the new president of the Canadian Medical Association, who says Canadian doctors must recognize how sick the Canadian system is and figure out how to fix it. "We all agree that the system is imploding, and we all agree that things are more precarious than Canadians perhaps realize." (link)

Of course, it's not like Dr. Doig is in a position to know anything about that, right?

Joe Blackmon said...

Off Topic:

A small victory in the war against Obamacare. Looks like the public option is dead. Woohoo!!!

However, everyone needs to remember that we have got to keep the pressure up. The American people can have a victory against those in Washington who want to shove their garbage down our throats.

Steve said...

Politically, what really amazes me is how much public support the Dems are willing to sacrifice for a health care bill that will still leave millions of people without care.

Dec 2009: 20% of Americans support Obama's impeachment.

Secutiry word: missale

dasullivan said...

Joe,

You made a comment that seemed to indicate "thousands" of Canadians are disgusted with their health care. Then you respond with a quote from the head of the Canadian Medical Association (from an opinion piece in the Washington Times)who implies Canadians are ignorant that their system is imploding ("Perhaps your Canadian buddies might want to have a discussion with Dr. Anne Doig, the new president of the Canadian Medical Association, who says Canadian doctors must recognize how sick the Canadian system is and figure out how to fix it.")

So which is it - Canadians hate their system or they think their system is ok and don't realize that is imploding?

You made a broad brush statement concerning an issue in order to push your viewpoint as if you knew the feelings of thousands of Canadians. I called you on it because I had talked personally to about 30 Canadians or foreign nationals that live in Canada to find out how they feel about the system they are dealing with. It did not match up to the rhetoric you were spouting and you could not defend the statement other than by supplying a quote from an opinion piece (which by the way did not supply a reference as to where the quote was taken from in order to fully understand the context of the quote) that had nothing to do with the feelings of the Canadians about their system.

Your rhetoric undercuts the points you are trying to make. I know you could care less what I think, but I would think you would want to put a little more effort into researching an issue instead of spouting off political talking points to support your position. To me, that is just being lazy.

Joe Blackmon said...

Sorry, dasullivan, I guess I need to type slower for you.

The two statements are NOT contradictory. There are Canadians crossing the boarder to get treatment for things that they don't want to wait months for due to the obvious problems of socialized medicine. You then responded that people you knew said "There are no problems with Canadian medicine, eh." I then posted that even the top doc in Canada says their system is crap.

Bottom line--socialized medicine gives people a substandard level of care. It's not good enough for my family. The only people who support it in this coutry are liberal whack-jobs. Luckily, it doesn't look like it's going to pass with a public option. If the good guys can keep the pressure up, it may not pass at all.

Lydia said...

"Am I thinking beyond some obvious understanding here? I don't get it. :-/"

The Puritans died out. Why? The answer is the result of that particular teaching when passed on to successive generations.

Lydia said...

Perhaps your Canadian buddies might want to have a discussion with Dr. Anne Doig, the new president of the Canadian Medical Association, who says Canadian doctors must recognize how sick the Canadian system is and figure out how to fix it. "We all agree that the system is imploding, and we all agree that things are more precarious than Canadians perhaps realize." (link)"

Maybe this was the Canadian from a medical association I heard in an interview that said 1 out of 3 doctors in Canada have referred patients to the US to get things like colonoscopy's and other procedures they would have to wait on.

Joe Blackmon said...

Now Lydia, you know you're just hatin' on poor people and wanting to deny the free medical care that everyone is entitled to simply because they exist.

Oh, and just for the record I like Canada. Paul Brodie is one of my favorite saxophonists. William Shattner, James Doohan, and canadian bacon. Nuff said.

dasullivan said...

Joe,

I appreciate you typing slower. Its hard to keep up sometimes.

I decided to check out where that doctor you were quoting might be coming from and went to the CMA website. Got a little clarification as to the policy direction they were taking. Thought you would be interested in this quote from the website: "The status quo is not an option as we move toward a better, more sustainable health care system. After closely examining how health care works in several other countries, the CMA is convinced that it is possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal health coverage - and is actively pursuing that goal."

Doesn't sound like they are wanting to move to a US based system.

The way I see it you pulled that quote out of context, just like you accuse liberals of doing with the scripture. As I indicated previously you might want to support your arguments with a little better research.

http://www.cma.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/88963/la_id/1.htm (sorry, not sure how to insert links.

dasullivan said...

Joe,

Let me retract the comment "just like you accuse liberals of doing with the scripture". That was a statement I should not have made since I cannot point to where you have said that specifically. I apologize for that misstatement.

Don

Joe Blackmon said...

Don,

No need to retract or apologize. I'm quite sure I've said that, and if I haven't here I have elsewhere. De nada

Also, I wasn't saying that they're intending to move to a US type of system, simply that they acknowledge their system doesn't work. I would define having "wait lists" as "not working".

Also, simply because they say their goal is to maintain universal health care without wait lists doesn't mean that is an attainable goal. Socialized medicine will not provide the standard of care that we currently have and it is not good enough for my family.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"If one wants a big picture approach, then why not take the two covenants that get the emphasis in Scripture [Old & New] and interpret the Bible accordingly?"

You mean these two?
Covenant of Redemption
Covenant of Grace
Covenant of Creation (Adamic)
Noahic Covenant
Abrahamic Covenant
Mosaic Covenant
New Covenant

We must think of all of these in terms of their continuity. There is not just one OT Covenant. God is a Covenant God. When He makes promises, they are forever unless of course a new covenant superceeds an old one as we see in Hebrews 8. But the NC hardly wipes out all previous Covenants made by God. It is simply a revelatory unfolding of the purpose of the cross.

Do you not think Abraham shares in the blessings of the NC? I think in fact he IS.

K

I am not an expert on this stuff btw. I believe what I see to be true from my perspective.

Facinating stuff for certain. Makes me envision God in an even bigger way.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Kevin,

I'm not saying that the Old and New Covenant are the "only" covenants in Scripture. They're not. However, I do think they are the two covenants that get the "emphasis" in Scripture. The ones that "stand out", if you will.

I believe these Covenants are biblical:

Noahic Covenant
Abrahamic Covenant
Mosaic Covenant
Davidic Covenant
New Covenant

I believe this covenant is "possibly" biblical if what is meant by it is not the typical "covenant of works" idea in the garden:

Covenant of Creation (Adamic)

* I do not believe there is exegetical evidence [at least in Genesis] to say that there was a "probationary period" for Adam in which "if" he would have obeyed God, he would have inherited "eternal life".

I believe these two covenants are not biblical covenants:

Covenant of Redemption
Covenant of Grace

* I think speaking of "the eternal plan" of God is sufficient.

I believe that all of the biblical covenants "fit" within the overall plan of God. I think the process of having a more biblical theology of covenants is taking place now with academics such as Schreiner and Meyer and also guys who might be regular pastors.

I think the "seeds" for a biblical theology of the covenants was there in the first generation of Particular Baptists but was not developed. However, I think those seeds are now being developed even if folks are unaware of what someone like a Thomas Patient believed.

I would again encourage you to get Jason Meyer's book "The End of the Law". His doctoral supervisor was Schreiner and this guy is "the real deal" IMO.

In Christ,

Benji

Rex Ray said...

Off Topic

HOW TO DESTROY AMERICA

Former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm said…

No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that 'An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide. Here is how they do it.

1. Turn the nation into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures.

2. Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. Make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal; that there are no cultural differences. Make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due solely to prejudice and discrimination by the majority.

3. Make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated.

4. Get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority.

5. Promote divided loyalties. Celebrate diversity over unity. Stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other.

6. Make it impossible to enforce immigration laws because immigration has been good, it must always be good; and ignore the cumulative impact of millions.


Could any of the above apply to the SBC where Christians are forced to be conservatives or moderates?

What do you think Joe?

Rex Ray said...

ON TOPIC
Joe White,
I’ll join you in saying the C/R didn’t go far enough in that the 4th largest city in America, Houston, Texas where gay marriage is against the law, has elected its first gay mayor with 16.4 percent of the eligible voters casting ballots.

Despite conservatives and anti-gay activists mounting an intense campaign against HER, SHE has joined this city with other gay mayors – Providence, Rode Island, and Portland, Oregon.

WHAT’S AMERICAN COMING TO? Ask the Christians who’re sitting at home on their rear ends.